Accessing healthcare digitally: insights from communities in Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea

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Summary of report content

Before the pandemic, the NHS began initiating an ongoing ‘digital first’ strategy. Restrictions on movement and physical interaction over the last two years accelerated this move towards more digital health services. Healthwatch Central West London wanted to find out how this has impacted people, by engaging a range of organisations and groups from across communities in Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster.

Healthwatch Central West London conducted focus groups, surveys, and interviews with local people, to hear about their experiences of using digital healthcare tools and technology during the pandemic. Questions were devised building upon previous work carried out by the Healthwatch on the impact of COVID-19 and digital health. In total, 8 focus groups and 3 interviews held between February and May 2021.

The researched revealed 3 key themes. 1) A clear majority of respondents do not want digital health tools to replace other modes of healthcare. 2) Respondents who do not speak English, or have English as an additional language, consistently reported serious issues with the visibility and availability of functioning translation services. 3) A majority of respondents have concerns about security and privacy when using digital health tools.

The report suggests 7 key recommendations.

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General details

Report title 
Accessing healthcare digitally: insights from communities in Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Central West London
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 1 December, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 1 February, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Monday, 31 May, 2021
Key themes 
Access
Administration
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Engagement
Health inequalities
Health promotion
Information providing
Interpreters
Quality of appointment
Quality of care
Waiting times and lists for treatment

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
No
Primary research method used 
Focus group
Structured interview

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice

Details of people who shared their views

Does the information include public's views? 
Yes
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 
Mixed

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
 
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
 
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.