GW4 Crucible Seed projects 2019

Mind the Gap: Implications of the digital divide on healthcare inequalities during the NHS digital transformation, for patients with long term conditions

PIs: Dr Ben Ainsworth (Bath), Dr Charlotte Dack (Bath)

Co-Applicants: Kate Binnie (Bristol), Dr Laura Colebrooke (Exeter), Dr Sabrina Grant (Bristol), Dr Gemma Lasseter (Bristol), Dr Barbara Silarova (Exeter), Dr Sophie Turnbull (Bristol)

The recently published NHS Long Term Plan aims to ‘transform healthcare in the digital age’ – to deliver world-class healthcare in the 21st century focusing on personalised medicine in GP practices and social care using digital tools such as patient self-management interventions (e.g. HeLP Diabetes) and online consultation tools (e.g. eConsult) which promise cost-effective solutions to support patients. However, people with low socioeconomic status (SES) are more likely to lack the basic digital skills required to benefit from digital and are 50% more likely to have a long-term health conditionUtmost care must be taken that the ‘digital divide’ – between the people who have the digital skills to engage with digital transformation, and those who do not – does not cause or exacerbate healthcare inequalities. Our study aims to see how health care professionals (HCPs use digital healthcare tools in practices, and whether they are able to pass on the benefits of digital interventions to patients on both sides of the digital divide.