A new report provides a summary of key talking points at a roundtable on enhancing digital self care.

The event, which took place in November last year, was hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Digital Health and PAGB.

It brought together representatives from Parliament, the civil service, the NHS, industry and the third sector, including PIF director Sophie Randall.

One topic of discussion was the need for robust accreditation procedures and criteria for digital heath information and tools.

The PIF TICK was given as one example of a tool which helps people identify high-quality, reliable health information and care online.

A return to pre-pandemic behaviours?

The summary report says self care is an important part of the care pathway. 

Digital tools have a key role to play in supporting and enhancing people’s ability to self care.

The pandemic caused a significant shift in terms of both people’s willingness to practise self care and the number and quality of digital tools available to support self care behaviours.

Despite this progress, there are still barriers across the healthcare system that are preventing digital self care tools from being used effectively.

It seems some people are returning to their pre-pandemic behaviours, seeking medical intervention as a first option rather than practising self care.

Embedding digital self care

To ensure digital health tools are used to their full potential and digital self care is fully embedded, attendees suggested policy makers should work with stakeholders to:

  • Make it easier for people to access self care content relevant to their needs
  • Ensure digital triage tools are fit-for-purpose
  • Use digital health tools as part of hybrid models of care to ensure everyone has the option to practise digital self care should they want to
  • Explore opportunities to make greater use of digital, remote diagnostics
  • Allow people to self-refer to the Community Pharmacy Consultation Scheme (CPCS) via the NHS website
  • Develop frameworks to make it easier for external partners to collaborate with the NHS on developing digital offers at a national level

Suggestions on how to make it easier to access relevant self care content included:

  • Making online self care information easier to navigate
  • Developing clear accreditation procedures and criteria for digital health tools that take evidence of effectiveness into account
  • Providing alternative language support for people who do not speak English as a first language
  • Developing personalised digital health tools that encourage people to self care proactively

Click here to read the full report, including a summary of all key talking points.