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The Digital Carers Phenomenon

Healthwave has analysed multiple sets of data from National and County level surveys which were focussed on learning about how people tend to support one another to use digital or online services.

As healthcare delivery moves to ever more digital platforms to improve efficiency and effectiveness, a growing army of 'digital carers' is emerging who could prove critical to the impact and success of future healthcare. Find out here about who they are, why you need to consider them in your plans and how we can help support them.

Watch our video to learn more about the 'digital care' challenge

What is a Digital Carer?

For many the shift to accessing daily basics online has become an insurmountable challenge. As banking, getting prescriptions and even just buying food, moves to digital channels, the risk is that the very people who need easy access the most, are cut off from the services they need - and the negative impact of digital exclusion becomes real. That's why increasingly an unpaid workforce is stepping in to fill this new 'care gap' and help them access digital services. This help tends to be provided by 'digital carers', such as friends, family, neighbours or sometimes voluntary or paid support staff.

Healthwave has pioneered several pieces of local and national research in the field of NHS digital transformation and we know that 1/3 of adults now need help to use digital services. Enabling this growing cohort can prove key to the success of health pathway

Tackling digital exclusion with Healthwave

Healthwave is helping tackle digital exclusion in three ways.

1. We help health providers consider the role of digital carers in their strategy and how they can be fundamental to a health pathway's success.

2. We then make sure the promise of your digital transformation strategy is realised by empowering digital carers.

3. We've also launched a #DigitalCarers campaign to provide tools, resources and peer to peer support for digital carers - which can be tailored to a particular community or local area.

The role of Digital Carers is being increasingly recognised by the clinical thought leaders

"'I love the phrase 'Digital carers'. The word suddenly gives a structure to what several of my projects are aiming to deliver. Using co-design we want to reduce the digital carer burden by providing cancer digital tech that is easy for people to use so they don't need their 'carer'. Thank you - my seemingly unrelated pieces of work are related I just didn't have the word!"

Senior Researcher, Imperial College

The Digital Carers phenomenon

Find out more in our recently published white paper which analyses the growth of this new group of carers and how they can be engaged and supported.