A new report published jointly by Public Health Wales and the King’s Fund explores how a lack of access, skills and motivation for using digital technologies could contribute to inequalities in health and other outcomes, and explores approaches to reduce widening differences between groups.
Digital exclusion mainly effects older people, rural communities and those with low incomes in Wales.
Lack of access remains one of the key drivers for this, with as many as one in 10 adults still without access to the internet.
Dr Alisha Davies, Head of Research and Evaluation at Public Health Wales said: “Digital channels are one of the ways in which Welsh citizens can access health-related services and activities.
“When people are digitally excluded – be that because of a lack of access, skills or motivation – then it also affects their opportunity to access the services that will improve their long-term health.
“Our report helps to explain how digital exclusion may impact on an individual’s health and the actions needed to prevent some groups from being left behind.
“We identified international examples where technologies can be designed to reduce the risk of digital exclusion, to help inform future action”.
The recommendations include the need for greater user participation in the design of digital health services, and the expansion of research to help build understanding of the issue.
The report found no evidence that conclusively establishes that digital exclusion is leading to worsening health inequalities. Although providers are strongly encouraged to design services with users, and take account of how local communities access, use and engage with healthcare.
Recommended actions include taking account of the remaining barriers to using digital technologies that some groups face; and to seek out new opportunities to improve health for some groups because of the way they use digital technologies.
For more information see the link below: