On the third day of HTN Now April 2021, we were joined by the team from Connected Nottinghamshire to discuss their Public-Facing Digital Services programme.
We welcomed Jayne Birch-Jones, Change Management Lead, Jane Scarborough, Project and Change Manager and Rosie Atkin, Project Implementation Manager from Connected Nottinghamshire.
Introducing the scale of reach of Connected Nottinghamshire, Jayne Birch-Jones opened, “across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, we’ve got a really diverse population with 1.1 million people living in our city and county area.”
Managing healthcare in such a densely populated area is also about managing digital inclusion, Jayne Birch Jones continued, “as an ICS, it’s been our strategic vision to address the barriers faced by our population in order to improve access to services and reduce health inequalities that people experience around digital services.”
By conducting practical engagement to understand the challenges across the local population, Rosie Atkin detailed what that looked like, “we did a whole lot of engagement to really get an understanding of what mattered to our population, in understanding the barriers and challenges that they experience with accessing healthcare services online, we went out into the public, into hospitals, GP surgeries to really and try to understand the barriers people experience.”
As a result of this engagement and feedback, Rosie outlined how Connected Nottinghamshire used their findings to build a single place for people to access health services online, “from the engagement what we found is that people said they wanted a single place to access health and care services, they wanted to have this help and support to be able to use digital health and care services and they need to the information to be accessible.”
Connected Nottinghamshire released a dedicated NHS app off the back of their findings in the community and used the current NHS app as a “single front door as requested by our citizens” Jayne Birch-Jones added.
As a result of the growing success in the Nottinghamshire area, Connected Nottinghamshire aimed to drive national innovation and change. Jane Scarborough discussed the collaboration and what it means, “the NHS Notts App showcases real partnership working both at a national and local level and with our industry partners and we have delivered a combined response that provides a product that really does meet the people’s mandate, our programmes been recognised nationally as an NHS beacon area.”
With the success of the app, patient satisfaction has been a key metric to measure the results of the app, Rosie added, “what’s at the heart of this project is patients, and having patient satisfaction and feedback is really important to us.”
From the start of the project, a key principle of the roll-out was to address digital and social exclusion, Rosie explored why social and digital inclusion matters, “one of the things that we realised, really, really early on, is that actually digital and social inclusion is key to ensuring that the Notts NHS app is successful. The people and population that we want to be able to use these services need to be digitally included and if they don’t have the confidence or skills to be able to use digital tools then it’s not going to have a big take-up.”
Combatting these inequalities resulted in a number of dedicated schemes being launched to improve digital literacy and social inclusion across the area, Rosie added, “to ensure that the most excluded people and those that experience the highest health inequalities within our population are able to improve their skills, we set up a dedicated project which includes several different schemes to really start tackling that digital divide and to begin to support people in not only accessing services just for their health and care but also improving their confidence just using technology for whatever really matters to them.”
In closing, Jayne Birch Jones said “we believe that public-facing digital services will support our ICS in supporting people to self-manage their health and care needs wherever possible and hopefully keep people away from health and care if they don’t need to access it. Supporting them to self-serve and to keep themselves healthy and manage their own conditions is key.”
You can watch the session here: