New guidance to support recording of COVID-19 data

The Professional Records Standards Body (PRSB) has published new guidance to support information sharing related to COVID-19.

The guidance was developed with health and social care professionals, PIF, PRSB's patient network, NHS Digital and the vendor community.

It identifies and defines the most useful COVID-19 related terms which, if used consistently, mean health and care professionals will be able to communicate information about people’s care more precisely between themselves and different care settings. 


Surveys reveal attitudes to COVID-19 tracing app

Two surveys have revealed public attitudes to a COVID-19 tracing app with data security and the digital divide highlighted as key issues.

Polling data released by the Health Foundation and Ipsos MORI revealed more than six in ten people (62%) say they are likely to download the app when it is released.

However, the polling reveals a significant ‘digital divide’ along the lines of occupation, educational level and age.

Almost three quarters (73%) of people in managerial, administrative or professional jobs say they are likely to download the app, but among the routine and manual workers, state pensioners and the unemployed, this figure falls to just half.

While 71% of those with a degree say they are likely to download the app, this falls to 63% for those with A-levels or equivalent only, 59% for those with GCSEs or equivalent, and 38% among those with no formal qualifications.

The polling also identifies variation in smartphone ownership as a significant issue, with almost one-in-five people aged over 65 years old (17%) not owning a device.

A study carried out by Censuswide on behalf of Anomali also revealed public concerns about data security.

Almost half of people (48%) surveyed about the NHSX COVID-19 tracing app do not trust the UK government to keep their information safe from hackers.

Around 43% of respondents were concerned the app would give cyber criminals the opportunity to send messages or phishing emails and just over half (52%) felt they were savvy enough to differentiate between a legitimate email or text and a scam.

Just over a third (36%) are concerned the app might allow the government to collect data on them.

Plain English guide to getting NHS help when you need it

The NHS England and NHS Improvement Learning Disability and Autism Engagement Team has released a plain English guide on getting NHS help when you need it during the coronavirus outbreak. 

The guidance includes information on going to A&E, hospital and GP appointments, medication, dental and eye care, specialist services, mental health, taking care of children, and getting reasonable adjustments from health services. 

The guidance has also been published in easy read format.

Click on the link below to read the guidance.

NHS England

Resources on health inequalities and COVID-19

A suite of resources relating to health inequalities and COVID-19 has been published.

The resources were collated by Public Health England, in collaboration with the Local Government Association, Association of Directors of Public Health and NHS England and NHS Improvement.

They are designed to support place-based approaches to planning and responding to the pandemic, while mitigating against potential impacts on those with the poorest health outcomes.

Information and guidance includes materials to help support public mental health and wellbeing and on dealing with isolation.

Click on the link below to view the full suite of resources.

Local Government Association

The COVID-19 pandemic, financial inequality and mental health

A new briefing discusses the mental health effects of financial inequalities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It draws evidence from the Coronavirus: Mental Health in the Pandemic research – a UK-wide, long-term study of how the pandemic is affecting people’s mental health. 

The study is led by the Mental Health Foundation, in collaboration with the University of Cambridge, Swansea University, the University of Strathclyde and Queen’s University Belfast.

The briefing says the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to reproduce and intensify the financial inequalities contributing towards the increased prevalence and unequal distribution of mental ill-health.

Repeated surveys revealed several differences in attitudes between those who were employed or unemployed.

For example, one fifth (19.70%) of people surveyed who identified as unemployed have had suicidal thoughts and feelings in the last two weeks.

This is compared to 8.64% of people in employment.

The briefing makes several recommendations including:

  • Making the Universal Credit advance payment a grant immediately
  • Pausing all debt collection, bailiff visits, interest accrual on debt and deductions from benefits
  • Temporarily increasing Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits
  • Extending the current prohibition on evictions

Mental Health Foundation

Expert research centre on health inequalities launched

NHS England and the NHS Confederation have confirmed the creation of a new centre to investigate the impact of race and ethnicity on people’s health.

The NHS Race and Health Observatory, which will be hosted by the NHS Confederation, will identify and tackle the specific health challenges facing people from BAME backgrounds.

It comes amid significant concerns about the particular impact of the COVID-19 virus on people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds.

NHS England

COVID-19 accelerates non-adherence and magnifies health inequalities

This pharmaphorum article discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic is compounding the problem of non-adherence to medication.

It says the social determinants of health are now delivering a 'double blow', as the issues that make people more likely to be non-adherent also make them more susceptible to COVID-19.


Podcast: The rise of AI chatbots in the wake of COVID-19

In this podcast, Dr John Reeves of Conversation Health shares insights on how chatbots can connect when humans cannot.

Dr. Reeves is a global expert in the application of conversational AI to healthcare. 

He discusses how chatbots are supporting brands and users by creating more natural experiences.

A PDF download is also available which has been put together to help organisations implement a chatbot of their own.

Digital Health Today

GP urges people to come forward for care

Millions of people have had remote consultations as family doctors respond to COVID-19.

Remote consultations are one way in which GP practices have changed the way they work to ensure people can get expert care and advice in a safe way throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, one of the country’s top GPs has urged people to continue to come forward for care when they need it, as part of the NHS’ ongoing Help Us Help You campaign.

Raj Patel, deputy medical director of primary care at NHS England, said: “Even during these unprecedented times, if people need help from a family doctor they are able to get it. 

"Our GPs are quickly adapting to new technology – including phone and video consultations – to continue providing care in a different way."

NHS England

Patient communication key to COVID-19 response at GP surgery

A new case study published by NHS England looks at how a central-Peterborough GP practice has overhauled the way it delivers services during the COVID-19 response.

The surgery has invested in new online and telephony systems to keep in touch with its patients.

Before the COVID-19 response began, 80 per cent of consultations at Thistlemoor Medical Centre were delivered through a walk-in service.

The team has had to come up with a new way to offer the same level of service accessibility during lockdown.

Because patients were accustomed to turning up without an appointment, the practice has been communicating the new arrangements through different channels including a Facebook page, Twitter posts and videos in English and a number of different languages including Polish, Lithuanian, Russian and Romanian.

The practice has also batch-messaged patients, in English and their first languages, to let them know about the changes and signposted them to the website for updates.

NHS England

Study: Assessing consumer health language complexity differences

A study has emphasised the importance of tailoring health-related content for different groups with varying consumer health language (CHL) complexities.

The language gap between health consumers and health professionals has been long recognised as the main hindrance to effective health information comprehension. 

Although providing health information access in consumer health language is widely accepted as the solution to the problem, health consumers are found to have varying health language preferences and proficiency. 

Authors argue to simplify health documents for heterogeneous consumer groups, it is important to quantify how CHLs are different in terms of complexity among various consumer groups.

The study aimed to propose an informatics framework (consumer health language complexity [CHELC]) to assess the complexity differences of CHL using syntax-level, text-level, term-level, and semantic-level complexity metrics.


Communication and information design standards

The Communication Research Institute has released a suite of Communication and Information Design Standards to the public in Australia.

The publication is the result of decades of research in communication and information design.

PIF members have been asked to share their comments on the standards by emailing [javascript protected email address].

Click on link below to view the standards.

Communication Research Institute