Last year the Discover Digital project funded six organisations through the ‘Discovery’ small grants programme.

These six organisations were funded to engage with seldom heard and minority communities, to inform our learning on barriers on the adoption of digital health and social care they face, and the support required to remove these barriers.

The Discovery grant programme supported Articulate Cultural Trust, Cornerstone, Cosgrove Care, Deafblind Scotland, OPAL Borders Cyrenians and Scottish Care to host conversations and ongoing dialogue with people and communities exploring these issues- with findings supporting ongoing themes which hinder digital inclusion for many of our ALLIANCE members.

What we did.

All the organisations used differing engagement methods to engage with their communities to host these important open discussions. Articulate Cultural Trust utilised trauma-sensitive tools and techniques and the skills of quality teaching artists in collaboration with care experienced young people and professionals who work within the field of arts, health and wellbeing; Deafblind Scotland hosted roundtable discussions and Scottish Care opted for Roadshow style engagement activity.

All the participating organisations embedded our Human Rights Principles for Digital Health and Social Care within their engagement activity to ensure the promotion of good practice and person centre outcomes.

What we heard

  • Accessibility for people with sensory loss is an ongoing issue: Hospital Wi-Fi is often not strong enough to support online BSL (British Sign Language) consultations and appointment information is not always available in all formats LP – XXXXLP, Braille, Moon, Audio, BSL video. Apps and information are often not accessible to screen readers/ voice over etc.
  • Lack of awareness of digital tools and services: Awareness of what technology is available, specifically simple devices that can be used by anyone to improve independent living and self-management is extremely limited.
  • Need to increase staff digital skills and confidence: Capacity and access to build digital literacy, confidence, and commitment.
  • Data Control and Digital Safety- Individuals have great anxiety about cyber security and the safety of apps etc. They also wish to have control of their own data but this needs to be far more accessible (more visual/easy read for people with learning disabilities) to allow them to have equal rights in controlling their data.
  • Need for tech to be user friendly- Accessibility, lack of user-friendly language, digital and health literacy.
  • Need for ongoing tech support- individuals need ongoing access to tech support for IT issues and to support them to gain and sustain the skills to effectively stay online.

Our Discovery Grant findings (organisational reports can be found here) echo the themes we continue to hear from our ALLIANCE membership as barriers to accessing digital health and social care services and continue to highlight the areas where much work is needed to address these issues.

Our Discover Digital project is committed to working together to inform support digital service providers of these ongoing barriers and assist them in improvement of digital services, improve staff and individuals’ knowledge and awareness of digital tools, and to help people understand and navigate health, care and wellbeing tools and services.

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