HIFA discussion to support IFLA webinar: Combating digital health inequality in the time of coronavirus

13 April, 2020

Coronavirus has highlighted as never before how being online is crucial to our lives. Those who most need support (including older and socially disadvantaged people) are least likely to be online. Community organisations, including libraries, have a crucial role in building digital inclusion and digital health literacy.

HIFA is collaborating with the International Federation of Library Associations (the special interest group Evidence for Global and Disaster Health and the Health & Biosciences Libraries section) to support a webinar on Thursday 23 April, 15.00-16.00 British Summer Time (GMT+1): Combating digital health inequality in the time of coronavirus.

The lead presenter is Bob Gann, 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. He is a member of the HIFA working group on Library and Information Services.  

More information about the webinar here. Register (free) here

Join HIFA today to discuss the issues as we approach the event:

1. 40% of the world's population is not online. Even in an affluent country like the UK 20% of the population are either not online or lack basic digital skills. Health information and services have increasingly been delivered digitally, and this has become even more crucial in the time of coronavirus. Without action, we risk leaving behind those who are not online (digitally excluded) during a public health emergency.  

Q1. Who is excluded from online healthcare information?

2. Digital health inequality is closely linked to other forms of social deprivation. But there are some more specific reasons including lack of skills and access to technology.

Q2. Why are people digitally excluded?

3. In the time of coronavirus, patients, carers and the wider public have particular needs for healthcare information. 

Q3. What are their healthcare information needs at this time?

4. Libraries and other community organisations are taking practical steps to ensure that the people who most need health information and access to digital services are not disadvantaged.

Q4. Please give brief details if you have a practical example from your own service. We will include some examples in the webinar.

We look forward to international sharing of experience and expertise. 

Read more about HIFA's work in Library and Information Services here.

Picture credit: Gerd Altmann via Pixabay