New guide promotes digital inclusion in health and care in Wales

Welsh Government, NHS Wales Informatics Service and the Wales Co-operative Centre are working together to improve digital inclusion in Wales with the publication of a new guide.

The document, which is being launched on Thursday 11 July, is aimed at health and social care organisations and includes practical advice on how to support digital inclusion at a local level.

Digital inclusion means having the motivation, skills and access to benefit fully from digital technology. People who lack one, or a combination, of these may be digitally excluded and risk being left behind in a society where more and more services, including vital public services, go online.

Overall, 11 per cent of adults in Wales are not online, but some sections of the population are more at risk of digital exclusion than others. This includes older people, those with a disability or long-term health issues and people with less access to education.

Bob Gann, author of the guide and consultant researcher for digital inclusion and health in Wales, said: “Over one in 10 of the Welsh population are not online, including many of those who most need health and social care. This guide provides practical advice to health and care organisations on ways in which they can support people to get online and make the most of the benefits of digital health.”

Andrew Griffiths, Chief Executive at NHS Wales Informatics Service, said: “Access to digital technology is crucial for the way we deliver services across NHS Wales, and an important part of that is in enabling people to manage their own health and care. This new guide will help organisations to drive forward the use of technology across all areas of society.”

Karen Lewis, Director for Innovation and Engagement at the Wales Co-operative Centre, said: "As technology develops at an ever-increasing rate, the opportunities for new approaches to delivering health and social care are considerable. One of the key challenges, however, is ensuring that staff, carers, service users and patients have the digital skills required to benefit from the transformation that is already happening, but is likely to increase significantly in the coming years.

"This new guide provides an excellent foundation for people working in the fields of health and care in Wales, as they embark on the journey of digital transformation with their colleagues, patients and service users."

The publication of the Digital Inclusion Guide follows a recent report into how technology is used to support and monitor health in Wales, from Public Health Wales.

The guide is available to download in English and Welsh on the NHS Wales Informatics Service website.