Improving patient communication/involvement and the role of technology in local NHS services

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Coventry undertook a follow up piece of work to their report on the NHS Long Term Plan.  They wanted to find out about what people think about use of technology in the NHS and how communication and engagement with patients and the public is working in GP services. From October 2019 to January 2020 they ran a public survey and received 469 responses from Coventry residents. They ran two focus group discussions on the same topics with 23 people in total.

In terms of digitalisation, people wanted flexibility of methods of accessing services to consider their individual needs and circumstances.  They wanted a focus on the outcome for patients when putting in place digital methods rather than a focus on the technology.  They wanted providers to take full consideration of security.  They felt strongly that there should be no preferential access for those who have digital access over those who do not.  There needed to be good information about new methods and the option to learn how to use them.

People wanted more regular communication from GP practices using different methods that reach those who do not go to the practice often as well as those who do. They also wanted greater opportunities to give views and feedback to GP practices via different methods after using services and/or annually.  They wanted clearer feedback routes and surgeries to adopt appropriate technology to support this.

There were 5 recommendations about how digitalisation should be introduced and how GP practices should communicate with their patients.

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General details

Report title 
Improving patient communication/involvement and the role of technology in local NHS services
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Coventry
Date of publication 
Thursday, 12 March, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Tuesday, 1 October, 2019
Date evidence capture finished 
Monday, 6 January, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Digitalisation of services
Information providing
Public involvement
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Focus group
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
Dentist (non-hospital)
GP practice
Secondary care services 

Details about conditions and diseases

Types of long term conditions 
Learning disability

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

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.