Diversity & Equality & eHealth

Information Services here has an Equality & Diversity Information Programme (EDIP) going on. In NHSScotland we don’t really collect terribly much Diversity information just now, so we’ve not enough way of knowing whether or not our health services are structured and delivered in a culturally-aware fashion. The EDIP is intended to make a start on remedying this, by doing things like talking with members of diverse ‘Diversity’ groupings about their experiences of healthcare, & also designing E&D (or D&E) data-sets, etc etc – read the EDIP material for a much better summary, anyway.

Of course there remain the (small, sure) tasks of actually embedding theses data sets within the major NHS patient systems, persuading healthcare practitioners to collect the relevant data, and thereafter to use it sensitively in their dealings with patients. To name but three – there are bound to be more.

Perhaps eHealth might have a part to play here? One could imagine, within an endeavour that may seek to actualise the vision of a joinedy-up health record that’s managed jointly by the NHS and the patient concerned, that patients themselves could create this E&D data? There’s also the question of the presentation and handling of the data within day-to-day healthcare. It’s not really as simple as an On/Off thing, after all. I might want my ethnicity recorded in my health record, but do I always want it to be a factor in my care? I can imagine there might be times when I think it’s irrelevant, and to have it dragged into the transaction might be patronising or annoying. So there might be useful work to do around how the data is used within day-to-day practice, and how technology (I nearly used ‘affordances’ there, blimey) might or might not support what’s required.

The ‘involvement’ work that I’ve referred to elsewhere needs in part to be based on conversation pieces, and perhaps work like this could be one of these? We might touch on this when looking at building in E&D Impact Assessments into eHealth governance…

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