Last updated: 22.11.13

Digital healthcare training 'could benefits Brits'

Technology can play a significant role in advancing preventative healthcare, encouraging people to use online resources to improve their wellbeing.

This is according to Helen Milner, chief executive of not-for-profit social enterprise the Tinder Foundation, who said individuals need to boost their digital literacy and confidence in online interaction in order to better manage their health.

She claimed in a post for the Information Daily that at a time when demand for health services is extremely high, preventative measures of healthcare - such as materials found from reliable sources on the internet - are extremely important and can stave off illnesses.

As the majority of Britons have access to web resources, a wide amount of information is available to them.

Ms Milner explained: "Technology is helping people to think more intelligently about their lifestyle, exercise regime, diet and the effects on their health. Personal use of data about lifestyle and health is a reality."

However, she pointed to the fact that 1.1 million people across the UK have low or no digital skills, meaning the correlation between Brits who are digitally excluded and those who suffer health inequalities is distinct.

The Tinder Foundation is calling for GP and health practitioners to take action and get involved with the development of healthcare training that would improve their patients' digital literacy.

It is also currently working with NHS England to actively train 50,000 people in managing their health digitally by March 2014.

Ms Milner remarked that private industry needs to act, and while it has experimented with digital inclusions, it now must "make tools like Wi-Fi, tablets, high-speed broadband and mobile phones available at a much lower cost for the most deprived people in society".

If the entire nation was digitally literate and able to access healthcare resources at the click of a button, this could ease pressure on public services and allow individuals to make certain medical transactions themselves.