APO Digital Inclusion Collection brief: August 2019

22 Aug 2019

This snapshot is inspired by the initiation of the Digital Health Literacy program being piloted for the Australian Digital Health Agency between July and December 2019. This program will deliver training to support people to improve their digital health literacy, including how to find quality, reliable information, as well as understanding how to use and manage their My Health Record.

This snapshot examines the treatment of digital inclusion as a digital health system issue in Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy and the subsequent Framework for Action that details how Australia will deliver the benefits of digitally enabled health and care. It also examines the revised Digital Inclusion Guide for Health and Social Care recently released by the UK National Health Service (NHS). The NHS has long been a leader in addressing digital inclusion as it pursues a digital-first service delivery strategy.

Indeed, the Good Things Foundation, who are piloting Australia’s Digital Health Literacy program, have been delivering a similar Widening Digital Participation program for the NHS since 2013 (see reviews in 2015 and 2016). While the NHS Digital Inclusion Guide points to the importance of skills training (like that offered through the Digital Health Literacy program), it also highlights a broader set of practical interventions necessary to address digital inclusion as a complex multifaceted barrier to equitable digital health outcomes. The guide provides a useful template that could be adapted for use, both in the Australian health sector, and by organisations in other government service sectors undergoing digital transformation.

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