In this qualitative research project, Healthwatch England wanted to speak to groups traditionally more likely to experience digital exclusion to understand why and how this can impact their healthcare experiences, especially during the pandemic. These groups included older people, people with disabilities, and people with limited English.
The report gathered evidence from 86 patients and 26 members of staff. More than a quarter of the patients were people from a minority ethnic background.
The report recommends five principles for post-Covid digital healthcare that should be considered by GP practices, PCN’s and commissioners to better support patients.
- Maintain traditional models of care alongside remote methods and support patients to choose the most appropriate appointment type to meet their needs
- Invest in support programmes to give as many people as possible the skills to access remote care
- Clarify patients’ rights regarding remote care, ensuring people with support or access needs are not disadvantaged when accessing care remotely
- Enable practices to be proactive about inclusion by recording people’s support needs
- Commit to digital inclusion by treating the internet as a universal right