The University of Sussex and NHS Sussex, supported by the Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Science Network, have developed a framework to help improve access to digital health and care services, for those who need it the most.

Designed to be used by health and care commissioners, service leads, and digital teams, the framework aims to understand and mitigate the barriers people often face when trying to access digital health and care services, that result in digital exclusion.

Research into digital exclusion shows that there are links between those more likely to be digitally excluded and those more at risk of health inequalities.

Digital exclusion impacts significant parts of the population and occurs when a person is unable to access or use digital products that they need to use for everyday life including for health and care.

Download the framework and read the full story here.

The implementation resources are available on request from

To ensure its population is enabled to benefit from digital health and care Kent Surrey and Sussex AHSN supported NHS Sussex to work with the University of Sussex to develop a digital inclusion framework for health and care which aims to enable everyone that can benefit from digital health and care to do so, when they need to, and to ensure that inaccessible pathways and technologies are not creating barriers and causing un-engagement in digital health and care.

The digital inclusion framework for health and care is unique because it considers digital inclusion from the perspective of the service user, revolving around an individual’s journey with digital health and care services, pathways, and technologies: including an individual’s awareness, consideration, use and post use experience. It provides an opportunity to tackle a variety of reasons why people are or could be excluded from digital health and care services – recognising the likelihood and the nature of exclusion will differ in accordance with the stage of their journey.

To support implementation of this framework a practical design tool was developed to support the design of digitally inclusive pathways, services and technologies. In NHS Sussex these have been applied as part of an impact assessment portfolio, to be completed alongside Quality and Health Equality Impact assessments. In Sussex this will be used for all new programmes with widespread interest in using to retrospectively on established pathways.

For more information and to request the implementation resources, contact Kath Sykes.