E4GDH & HBS webinar: Combating digital health inequality in the time of coronavirus
Coronavirus has highlighted as never before how being online is crucial to our lives. Community organisations, including libraries, have a crucial role in building digital inclusion and digital health literacy.
In the time of coronavirus, as never before, being online is central to all our lives. As we lock down and self isolate, this is how we can keep in touch with family and friends, access reliable health information, manage our own health without depending on overstretched health services, carry on working, access financial support, pursue leisure interests to keep us occupied. Those who are not online are denied these opportunities – and they are likely to be just those who most need healthcare and social support (older people, people with disabilities, homeless and insecurely housed, less educated, unemployed people or those on low incomes). Coronavirus has brought into sharp relief how digital exclusion is a public health crisis and an issue of social justice.
This webinar will describe how community organisations (including libraries) have worked to support people who might otherwise be excluded, by providing access to technology and building digital skills, confidence and digital health literacy. Practical examples will be given, in particular from England and Wales, of initiatives including digital skills training programmes, social prescribing to digital health tools and support, and use of virtual reality technology to enable older people to engage with the wider world. These initiatives have been building over the past few years but now have a new urgency. The webinar will conclude with discussion of action being taken now, during the global health crisis, to ensure those who most need information and support are not left behind in the digital age.
We are pleased to announce that this is a joint webinar with IFLA Health and Biosciences Libraries section.
In the weeks leading up to this event the Healthcare Information For All (HIFA) online forum is exploring issues relating to the theme of the webinar. Join here: www.hifa.org/joinhifa
Bob Gann is an independent consultant, specialising in digital inclusion and combating digital health inequalities. He works as a Digital Inclusion Specialist for the National Health Service (NHS) with organisations including NHS Digital, Public Health England and Digital Communities Wales. He trained as a healthcare librarian and was Strategy Director for the NHS website.
Gann, B (2019) Transforming lives: combating digital health inequality IFLA Journal 45(3): 187-198
In addition to this article, a list of resources will be made available to support the webinar.