Yesterday, Tinder Foundation, NHS England, the Department of Health, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and community delivery partners, got together to celebrate the first birthday of our Widening Participation in Digital Health programme.
We’ve all been working together for the last year to address health inequalities by engaging those at increased risk of poor health in digital activities, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to manage and feel more in control of their health with online resources, and reap the wider rewards of digital inclusion at the same time.
There have been 14 flagship projects trialling new engagement approaches and partnerships across the country, a network of new Digital Health centres using new resources and our new Learn My Way course, and literally hundreds of digital health events promoting digital health literacy in local communities.
And we’re pretty proud of the results:
- 100,000 people engaged in digital health activities
- 82% of them socially excluded, and therefore those in most need of NHS services
- 60,000 trained to use NHS Choices and other health websites
- 99% user satisfaction
I strongly believe that digital health literacy is key in improving the National Health Service, and even in safeguarding it for the future. Because by putting power, choice and knowledge into the hands of patients, we are both relieving pressure and independently improving health and well being through community and digital engagement. That’s certainly the consensus of those gathered at yesterday’s events, and I thought that for a change I’d ask others to add their voices to my blog…
“The widening Digital Participation programme is having a really positive effect on people’s lives through better digital health skills. Reducing isolation and loneliness is just one way technology can help and when a lot of evidence suggests that this is as great a risk to the health and wellbeing to the elderly population as obesity, it show’s how important the work is. I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s achieved in year 2.”
Bob Gann, Programme Director – Widening Digital Participation, NHS England
“We’re so pleased to have been confirmed as a flagship centre for the second year of Widening Digital Participation. Today, it’s been really inspiring to hear what other centres have achieved, especially those working with GP’s surgeries, as that’s a big part of our plan for year 2.”
Liz Whale, Southampton Libraries
“We’ve had some amazing experiences as part of the programme. I was really proud to be able to help one man with what seemed to be severe anxiety and depression issues get the support he needed, all thanks to the Moodzone assessment tool on NHS Choices. I’m really looking forward to helping even more people this year.”
Dave Edeson, Inspire Communities Hull
“I’ve been hugely impressed by what I’ve heard about the Widening Digital Participation flagships today. The breadth of impact the projects are having in their communities is really inspiring. They are clearly making a real difference to people’s health and lives.”
Rachel Neaman, Department of Health.
I was particularly pleased to have the opportunity to catch up with Rachel Neaman, currently of Department of Health, who this week has been announced as the new Chief Executive of Go ON UK. I’m delighted she’s going to be at the helm of the UK’s digital skills alliance, but obviously disappointed that it means she can longer be on Tinder Foundation’s board. It does, however, mean that we do get to keep working together, and that the digital inclusion sector has a brilliant and energetic new champion.
Now it’s time for us all to look towards Year 2 of Widening Digital Health Participation. This year, we want to give our funders at NHS England even more value for money, and set ourselves even bigger targets and challenges to do so.
I’ve talked often about Tinder Foundation’s Discover/Seed/Scale model, and if Year 1 was ‘discover’, it’s now time to take those lessons and findings, seed those ideas, and scale our delivery. And if the ideas and plans I heard from delivery partners yesterday is anything to go by, we’re in for another amazing year. With their help, I’m looking forward to helping even more people take control of their health, and take advantage of technology in every other area of their lives.
Watch this space for updates.