Digital Companions — digital support through a trusted face

Claire Jordan, Lead Nurse Patient Engagement and Education, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board
Dean Jones, Customer Access & Service Quality Manager, Hywel Dda University
Marc Davies, Project Manager, Wales Co-operative Centre

Wales Cooperative Centre, in collaboration with Carmarthenshire County Council, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and Hywel Dda University Health Board

This Bevan Exemplar project introduced digital companions to support older people lacking confidence in using digital health services.

Background

Digital exclusion is a significant public health challenge. As the digital transformation of health services continues, there is a risk that those who could benefit most from the digital health revolution are those that are left behind.

“Being a Digital Companion is very rewarding. To see someone’s face light up as they watch their favourite singer performing songs on the tablet was lovely. She had never even touched a digital device before so it helped give her confidence as well as pleasure.”

Digital Inclusion in Health and Care in Wales

Lack of interest, motivation and trust are the main reasons why people don’t go online. Many have concerns around privacy and security. The best way to conquer these fears is through one-to-one support from someone they personally know and trust.

Two men using laptop

Aims

Challenges

“Fel Cyfaill Digidol, teimlaf fod medru cynnig cymorth trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg i’m ffrindiau neu deulu yn hanfodol os wyf am iddynt ymddiried ynof.”

Hazel Thomas Swyddog Datblygu a Hyrwyddo Merched y Wawr, Rhanbarth Ceredigion a Phenfro

“As a Digital Companion, I feel that being able to offer support through the medium of Welsh to my friends or family is essential if I want them to trust me.”

Hazel Thomas Development and Promotion Officer for Merched y Wawr, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire Division

Outcomes

Next steps

Digital Companions has now been incorporated into the Welsh Government programme, Digital Communities Wales: Digital Confidence, Health and Well-being for roll out across all Health Boards in Wales.

“The Bevan Exemplar scheme provided an opportunity to deliver digital inclusion support in an alternative way. This is social prescribing which could be hugely beneficial to many patients.”

Marc Davies, Wales Co-operative Centre

Part of cohort Bevan Exemplar Projects 2018-19