Distrust biggest barrier for patients using the internet

New research has found that a lack of skills and a distrust of health information online are two of the biggest barriers for patients to use the internet.

Carried out by NHS Digital and Digital Unite, the research found that specially trained health and social care staff and volunteers can support individuals to safely and confidently manage their health online, as this would increase their confidence to use digital health tools.

Digital champions provide flexible, ongoing digital skills support that is tailored for the needs of their learner. They may be NHS staff, volunteers, friends, family or neighbours, all interacting with the people who need better digital skills.

11.9 million people do not have the essential digital skills needed for day-to-day life in the UK. By 2030 it is forecast that 4.5 million UK adults will remain digitally disengaged unless there is a step change in the provision of digital skills and confidence.

Nicola Gill, programme lead at NHS Digital, said: “We are committed to ensuring everyone has the confidence, skills and means to access and use digital health services and tools, particularly the most excluded. When it comes to health it’s incredibly important that people are helped in a personal and empathetic way and we know that digital health champions make that difference.”

The research was supported by Brent CCG, Harrow CCG, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, Waltham Forest CCG and North East London NHS Foundation Trust.

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