Supporting health participation: update on wave one

100% Digital Leeds has partnered with Local Care Partnerships (LCP) in Leeds to develop a community-based approach to support digital inclusion for improved digital health participation, with place-based Digital Health Hub networks at the heart. The approach is being rolled out across the city in waves, supporting four LCPs at a time during a six-month period. Five development workshops will be delivered in each wave. Three development waves will run consecutively over an 18 month period leading up to the launch of a city-wide Digital Health Hub network in mid-to-late 2024.

Wave One, Workshop One

Wave one, working with HATCH, Woodsley and Holt Park, Central, and Morley LCPs, was launched in October 2022 with the support of over £200,000 in NHS Health Inequalities funding which will increase third sector capacity for supporting digital inclusion in the 10% most deprived communities within those LCP footprints. 

Workshop One took place on 26th October 2022 at St. Chad’s Parish Centre and brought together over 20 organisations to introduce them to the project and start thinking about the digital inclusion needs of the communities they work with and within. Organisations in attendance were from across sectors and support a range of different communities of interest. Attendance included Age UK, Leeds Libraries, Barca, Kirkstall Valley Development Trust, The Salvation Army, social prescribers, Localities teams, and Primary Care Network (PCN) representatives.

The workshop was broken into four key sections:

  1. Understanding digital inclusion
  2. Understanding digital health participation
  3. Understanding Digital Health Hubs
  4. Moving forward

Organisations were brought together in their LCPs to discuss these points, pooling their knowledge and experience to paint a picture of the needs of the communities in their place and start thinking about practical solutions. 

Understanding digital inclusion

“The idea of going online and what that means to someone, and the reasons they might not, is very personal. It can be very overwhelming and make people feel very small.”

Workshop participant

Partners discussed what digital exclusion looks like to them, and how this impacts on the communities they work with and within. Based on their experience of supporting people and communities, partners identified the biggest barriers to digital inclusion in their place. Common barriers identified include cost of equipment and connectivity, age, poor literacy skills, hearing and sight loss, and cultural and language-based. It was recognised that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution and any interventions need to be person-centred.

“It’s not just about getting devices, it’s about getting the right devices and data to people so it suits their needs. You can’t do homework on a mobile phone.” 

Workshop participant

Understanding digital health participation

“It’s about people being able to have a variety of options on how to access health services, and have the same opportunities as everyone else, so they don’t have to be stuck on the phone for an hour, and understanding that you don’t always have to leave the house to see the doctor or get a prescription.”

Workshop participant

Partners discussed what good digital health participation would look like for their communities, thinking about self-management and prevention as well as access to health services. Examples included supporting use of the NHS app, condition-specific self-management apps like myCOPD, help with using the internet to access relevant information, online peer-support, YouTube and other tools to help people move more, and digital tools to support the social integration of those who might struggle to get out and about for whatever reason. 

“It’s about helping people combat the fear that not seeing a doctor face-to-face will mean they don’t receive the same level of care.”

Workshop participant

Understanding Digital Health Hubs

Digital Health Hubs are key community organisations with trusted spaces and staff/volunteers on hand who can help people overcome barriers to digital inclusio, so that they can access relevant information and tools to improve their health and wellbeing. Organisations discussed whether they would be a good fit for developing as a Digital Health Hub or would be better suited in a supporting role: identifying digitally excluded people, helping them to understand the benefits of engaging with digital, and signposting to the Digital Health Hub network for that support. Organisations discussed what digital inclusion support they already offer, including whether they offer access to free wifi, support with digital skills, or loan digital equipment.

Moving forward

Depending on their potential role in the community-based approach, partners were invited to attend one or more of the following four development workshops planned for Wave One taking place in the coming months. Whether they joined us in in the initial workshop or not, organisations supporting people and communities in the HATCH, Woodsley and Holt Park, Central, and Morley LCPs that might be interested in becoming a Digital Health Hub are welcome to join us for the next meeting:

Workshop two: Developing a Digital Health Hub 

Wednesday 16th November 2022, 09:30 – 11:30am, Teams

Book your free ticket via Eventbrite

This Teams workshop is targeted at any groups or services who are interested in being a Digital Health Hub. Don’t worry right now about whether you have the staff, the tech, or the wifi to make this happen. This is exactly what we will be looking to talk through in the workshop. 

We’ll be looking at what being a Hub involves, checking where you are at now and what support (and funding) you may need to make this happen. Some of you will already be well on your journey to being a Hub whereas others may be just at the start of the journey.

If you have a community that you think would benefit from you offering a Hub then please come along and be part of the conversation.