e-Connect Scottish Health Council
An update for participation practitioners
Issue 2 October 2011
Welcome to e-Connect!

Rosemary HillWelcome to issue 2 of e-Connect, our current awareness bulletin for people who work with patients, carers and communities to influence and shape the delivery of health services and care.

This edition highlights the learning from our recent seminar, Participation using Online Technology, which was held on 7th September in the Beardmore Conference Centre, Clydebank. It provided an opportunity to discuss how online technology is transforming the way organisations engage with the public.

Bristol City Council, NHS Lanarkshire, NHS Tayside and innovative service design specialists SNOOK were among the guest organisations presenting at the event, which was primarily aimed at NHSScotland Designated Directors for Patient Focus and Public Involvement, Heads of Communications and Heads of Information Technology.

More information, including links to the presentations from the day, can be found on our website. The use of social media as a tool for engagement is still at an early stage and we plan to follow up this event to check on organisations' progress. If you are using this technology to improve participation for communities, please let us know.

Why engage service users and the public using social media?

questionGary McGrow, Health Services Researcher, Scottish Health Council

  • 77% of UK households have access to the internet (compared to 66% in Scotland, though this increases to 75% when access elsewhere e.g. work/libraries/mobile phone is included)
  • Half of UK children are registered with Moshi Monsters, an online gaming and social networking site for kids.
  • Social media can enable you to reach more people than traditional media, but there are corporate concerns around IT security, productivity and reputation.
  • Social media is not a fad, but is here to stay.
Ask Bristol - e-Participation in Bristol City Council

Ask Bristol logoAnna McDermott, Consultation and Research Officer, Bristol City Council

  • Bristol City Council introduced crowdsourcing to facilitate discussion between citizens and bring new people and fresh thinking to problems.
  • The Council’s online budget conversation received 4,385 views and 600 suggestions which were grouped into 70 themes.
  • Twitter and Facebook have been used to post consultations, e-petitions, citizen ideas and webcasts.
  • Offline engagement is still important e.g. Bristol Citizens’ Panel paper survey, neighbourhood forum meetings and drop in sessions.
User involvement and community engagement using social media

SNOOKLauren Currie, Director, SNOOK

  • People are at the heart of services you deliver.
  • Twitter is a new way of having a conversation.
  • How can an organisation talk to people on the outside, when people inside aren’t talking to each other?
  • SNOOK has developed MyPolice – a three-month pilot in Tayside offering a new way for police and communities to engage.
NHS Lanarkshire - Community engagement using social media

Facebook logoMarysia Morkis, Communications Manager, NHS Lanarkshire

  • Social media as a response to changing media – 12 million people buy a newspaper, 7 million use Twitter
  • It is clear that social media should complement existing channels, not replace them.
  • NHS Lanarkshire now has over 500 friends on Facebook and over 1,000 followers on Twitter.
  • Social media is now integral to all NHS Lanarkshire communications strategies, directing traffic to the website and keeping staff informed of the latest developments.
Development of an NHS e-Participation website

NHS TaysideAllyson Angus, Public Involvement Manager, and Laura Nixon, Public Involvement Coordinator, NHS Tayside

  • NHS Tayside wanted to introduce innovative ways to engage with the public and gained the support of senior management.
  • With technical support from the team at SHOW (Scotland’s Health on the Web) they have developed a portal (your NHS Tayside) which offers online consultations, polls, petitions and discussion forums.
  • A rigorous period of testing with communities has informed the final design.
  • NHS Tayside is currently finalising the branding and marketing, and the Scottish Government is keen that the service could be rolled out to other NHS Boards in Scotland.
Email Allyson or Laura for more information »
Workshop discussions

Workshop discussionsDelegates gathered for an hour-long discussion of the key issues which were raised by the speakers. The perceived benefits of using social media for engagement were considered to be direct and speedy access to new audiences, including young and working-age people, building trust with communities and the low cost of many of these tools. However, a number of challenges were also acknowledged, including staff capacity to learn to use social media effectively and opening up access to these sites through organisational firewalls.

These challenges could be overcome by gaining the support of leadership, facilitating a change in the culture of organisations and developing policies so that staff are clear about how social media will be used. Delegates also expressed a desire to continue the networking from the day’s event.

Scottish Government eHealth Strategy

newsThe second eHealth strategy, published on 12 September, identifies five strategic aims which should be the focus of all eHealth activity over the next 6 years. Information and technology should be used in a coordinated way to:

  • maximise efficient working practices and ensure value for money;
  • support people to communicate with the NHS, manage their own health and wellbeing, and become more active participants in the care and services they receive;
  • contribute to care integration and support people with long term conditions;
  • enhance the availability of information for staff; and
  • improve the safety of people taking medicines.

More than using the latest mobile and wireless technology, eHealth includes all initiatives where citizens engage electronically with the NHS. It requires a multi-channel approach to support the delivery of health and social care outcomes.

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In this issue
  • Highlights from the presentations on the day
  • Summary of workshop discussions
  • Watch the webcast videos
  • Join our online forum
  • Read what others are blogging about us
  • 7 useful things for the NHS
  • eHealth Strategy
Download the Participation Toolkit
Diary Dates

diary dates12 October 2011
Involving older people in reshaping care,

The Getting Together project engaged with older people living in deprived areas who did not access services. They were matched with trained volunteers who worked to improve their confidence and reduce isolation. Delegates at this seminar will be asked to consider whether this approach could be used to reach out to other isolated or seldom heard groups.

22 November 2011
Patient Focus and Public Involvement Seminar,

This seminar will discuss implementation of the Patient Focus and Public Involvement (PFPI) Framework in three pilot areas, share some learning from the Participation Standard and introduce the Health Inequalities Impact Assessment.

Give us your feedback
Feedback from the day

feedbackFeedback from the event has been very positive, with 94% of respondents rating it Good or Very Good. Delegates valued the chance to learn from others and were inspired by what is possible with social media. Respondents would have liked to have seen more practical examples, particularly a live example of the technology in action. All of this feedback will be very useful for organising a possible follow-up in the future.

Webcast videos

videoYou can watch videos of the presentations on the Video3 website. If this is your first time accessing the webcasts, please click on the Sign Up tab and create your own username and password. You will be sent an activation link to allow you to access all the videos. If you have any problems logging in or viewing the webcasts please contact info@video3.co.uk.

Continue the conversation

online forumWe have set up an online discussion group for delegates from the day to discuss the issues raised at this conference. If you would like to join this forum please get in touch.

Online engagement: still need convincing?

blog"Online engagement is starting very young now – it is normal to my kids. They live and accept the digital world. Some are further ahead of the curve than others as I saw at the Scottish Health Council event, but we can see where the pack is heading and there is no going back."

Scottish councils in 24-hour "What We Do" Twitter event

Twitter logoAlmost all of Scotland's 32 local authorities used the social networking site Twitter to raise awareness about the range of services they provide. From midday on Tuesday 27 September until midday on Wednesday 28 September they gave residents an insight into a day in the life of their council.

7 useful things for NHS consultation, engagement and patient involvement

blogA blog from Delib, a design company which works with government agencies to develop online tools and apps to connect people into the decision-making process. It highlights a number of websites including a weekly Twitter discussion for NHS staff who are using social media, a discussion of how GP practices are trying to embrace web technologies, and a link to our own report on "Participation using Online Technology".