Views of parents of children with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) about the use of technology in the NHS

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Coventry undertook research into people’s views of digitalisation of health care following their research for the Long Term Plan. This report concerns the findings of a focus group of parents of children/young people with Special Educational Needs (SEND).

Eight people participated the focus group on Tuesday 28 January 2020. They were women with sons and daughters who were children or young adults and who had a wide range of experience of local NHS and social care services.

The participants identified the services that communicate best which were GP, ophthalmologist, educational psychologist, audiologist, and community paediatrician and speech and language specialists. The services which participants had a mix of experiences included Occupational Therapy, educational psychologist, and physio.

Participants had a wide range of concerns about the use of technology in health services, including security, access, accuracy of records, the value of face to face and poor health care IT systems that didn’t speak to each other.  They also felt that the use of technology had a wide range of benefits, including that people who don’t want to leave the house can access health services, the use of video links for multi-disciplinary meetings and providing information about waiting times.

Participants agreed a list of guiding principles for the use of technology in healthcare.  These included: opting in rather than digital by default, flexibility, choice of communication method, choice over the security processes used, alerts when the information changes, right to change incorrect information and a clear recognition of who is managing a patient’s care.

Participants mentioned having had many appointments which could have been delivered by technology and how appointments could be delivered in a different way.

Overall the group was positive about the use of technology and the experiences and comments they have can be used to help identify how to go about this.

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General details

Report title 
Views of parents of children with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) about the use of technology in the NHS
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Coventry
Date of publication 
Thursday, 12 March, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Tuesday, 28 January, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Tuesday, 28 January, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Information providing
Quality of appointment
Quality of care
Waiting times and lists for treatment
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? 
Engagement Event
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 
Ear, nose and throat
Occupational therapy
Psychiatry/mental health (hospital services)
Mental health services 
Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
Eating disorder services
Psychiatry / mental health (other services)
Community services 
Community based services for people with mental health needs
Urgent and emergency care services 
Accident & emergency
Other services 
Equipment service

Details about conditions and diseases

Types of disabilities 
Learning or understanding or concentrating
Mental health
Social / behavioural
Types of long term conditions 
Learning disability
What type of pregnancy or maternity themes are included in the report 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
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? 
Not applicable
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.