In focus: Humber, Coast & Vale ICS releases digital inclusion core principles

Humber, Coast & Vale Integrated Health and Care Partnership has created and released its own set of ‘Digital Inclusion Core Principles’.

The short guide is intended to support organisations and health providers within the Humber, Coast and Vale Integrated Care System (ICS), with a checklist to help them when implementing digital service transformation projects.

There are seven ‘core principles’ championed in total throughout the publication, to help digital staff take and decide on ‘appropriate actions’. These include:

“Put people at the heart of everything you do”

This section recommends: including the people who will be using the service or equipment in the design and delivery at the beginning; creating an effective customer feedback and evaluation system to ensure continuous improvement; listening and acting; ensuring that digital delivery improves the quality of care and outcomes for the person.

Many of the principles are, understandably, interlinked with the next point to:

Empower and enable people to be digitally included”

This aim focuses on up-skilling and training, and providing people with confidence, by focusing on: building clear and strong relationships with people that are digitally excluded and at greater risk of poor health and wellbeing; training staff to pass on their digital skills to support people in the access and use of digital tools helping them to better manage their care and lifestyle.

“Remove digital inequalities”

The checklist also instructs that providers should contribute to reducing digital inequalities, rather than simply mitigating them, by ensuring that: everyone, regardless of their access to digital services, has equal access to services; not making assumptions – recognising that each person is different and has different digital needs and capabilities, which could include everything from a lack of skills and equipment and internet connection, to a lack of confidence, or poverty etc; the document advises that staff ‘take actions’ in their work to address this.

“Always work collaboratively”

Collaboration is also key to the publication’s message, as it advises people, communities, voluntary/public/private organisations to ‘work across HCV and wider geographies, sharing with, and learning from, each other to create best practice’.

“Do the hard work to make it simple”

The Care Partnership recommends that digital services shoulder the ‘hard work’ of transformation, making it easier for the service user by: considering people’s experience from beginning to end including infrastructure and any processes involved; be innovative and think outside the box; utilise established communities and networks to reach and engage with citizens; be clear with easy to understand information and instructions.

“There’s always got to be another way”

Equally, the publication cautions that, whatever initiatives the workforce may undertake for digital inclusion – there always has to be an alternative choice for people. It says: ‘remember, some people will never use digital tools to access services or manage their health and wellbeing’ and advises the workforce also ‘create, and promote the non-digital route’. This could include: offering people a range of choice in the way that services are accessed and delivered that suits their day to day lives, preference or ability; ensuring quality and prioritisation of service whichever route the person takes.

“Adopt ‘Digital Future Proofing’”

Finally, the last point on the Care Partnership’s checklist is to future-proof  any digital service. This could include: consistently measuring practice, services, tools and equipment against the national digital agenda; promoting and using existing digital channels; operating using the Humber Coast and Vale ICS, Digital Inclusion Core Principles as a guide throughout.

To read the full guide, click here.