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NHS NES Digital Service (NDS) and VHS are partnering to run this joint event exploring health inequalities in the context of the development of digital health. The event will provide the opportunity for voluntary health organisations to engage with NDS and to explore issues and approaches regarding digital health inequalities. The event is particularly relevant in light of COVID-19 driving more health and care services online.
Aims/objectives of the event:
- To explore the ways in which digital health can widen health inequalities
- To identify good digital health literacy interventions to mitigate health inequalities
- To agree joint actions taking forward digital health literacy interventions discussed
Scotland’s health is improving, but the gap in health outcomes between the most and least advantaged groups in society is widening. We call this gap health inequalities. Technology has the potential to reduce health inequalities by enabling people to access digital health information and tools to help them to better manage their health and care. However, left unchecked, digital technologies could also widen health inequalities.
- Health inequalities are the ‘systematic differences in the health of people occupying unequal positions in society’.
- They are strongly associated with socio-economic inequalities but can also result from discrimination.
- Health inequalities are unfair, not inevitable, and must be tackled.
There is a clear and strong relationship between groups that are digitally excluded and those at greater risk of poor health. People from excluded groups or living in deprived areas often lack the skills, ability and means to get online. Helping them to access and use digital health services and tools can:
- improve their health literacy & help them to better manage their health and care
- offer them a better choice and convenience of service that suits their day to day lives
- improve our relationships and how we communicate with patients
- reduce the cost and burden on frontline services
Working in collaboration
Both NDS and VHS have programmes of work to mitigate health inequalities. Together we recognise there is a need to engage and collaborate across sectors to help identify, explore and address interventions which tackle health inequalities from a digital perspective.
NES Digital Service (NDS) was established in 2018 to deliver the National Digital Platform, a central part of Scotland’s Digital Health and Care Strategy. We have three objectives:
- to enable excellent care by making sure health and care practitioners can capture and access the specialist information they need to do their job;
- to provide tools and services which allow NHSScotland colleagues and third parties can build valuable products and services on shared national digital infrastructure;
- to create the architecture to support key research agendas, better decision making and service improvement.
Please contact Lauren Blair with any questions. Lauren.Blair@VHScotland.org.uk