Impact on library policy/practice:
Libraries are well-placed to support digital literacy, and some already do for instance by supporting e-learning, providing training in social media or other new technologies, or having access to mobile devices for people to try. This doesn’t need to be just the technical aspects, but might include aspects of copyright, information governance or online security.
Library staff may need to be educated in how to use new technologies such as wearable devices (e.g. fitness trackers), or voice controlled devices (such as the Amazon Echo) and this may involve purchasing examples for library staff or users to try out. We may need to provide training on areas outside of the traditional information skills, and branch out into areas such as Twitter or LinkedIn.
We should if possible position ourselves as the ‘digital champions’ in the Trust, and this driver could be used to argue the necessity of such a role.
Although this document is focused on healthcare professionals, there may be scope for providing digital healthcare literacy support for patients as part of the KfH Patient and Public Information work, perhaps in collaboration with public libraries.
Source: Health Education England and the Royal College of Nursing
Link to main document
Publication format: PDF
Date of publication: July 2017
Summary of driver:
This report is focused on the digital literacy skills of healthcare professionals, and the definition of digital literacy that HEE has developed is
‘Digital literacies are the capabilities which fit someone for living, learning, working, participating and thriving in a digital society’.
The six domains included in this definition are:
- Digital identity, wellbeing, safety and security
- Communication, collaboration and participation
- Teaching, learning and personal/professional development
- Technical proficiency
- Information, data and media literacies
- Creation, innovation and scholarship
This report is part of HEE’s digital literacy project that aims to ensure health and care staff have the widest range of digital skills to provide the best possible patient outcomes and ensure effective personal and professional development.
This report is also part of the RCN’s ‘Every nurse an e-nurse’ project that identified an aim that by 2020 every UK nurse should be an e-nurse. The impact of technology and the potential that it has to transform care is a professional issue touching on care delivery, practice, education and research, and includes the involvement of nursing and midwifery staff in the design and implementation of information technology, increasing access to education and training, and using data to improve care.
Key features of driver:
The digital literacy work by Health Education England is includes supporting awareness-building about those capabilities that make up sound digital literacy across professions and disciplines, increasing individual motivation to develop those capabilities supporting individuals in accessing and using digital tools and resources, unlocking some of the barriers to accessing technology in healthcare.
The report does recognise there are challenges and barriers (which are further addressed in another paper) including attitudes to technology, lack of time to explore new technologies, lack of confidence, technical factors (such as patchy WiFi or blocked websites), and organisational policies (such as discouraging staff from using smartphones to access learning at work).
The report also looks at some potential solutions to improving the digital literacy of their workforce, including:
- Leaders need to clearly express the importance of digital literacy, which also needs to be built into the vision and strategy of the organisation
- There needs to be an open and trusting culture, with an ethos of information sharing
- Allowing time for the development and improvement of digital capabilities
- Developing ‘digital champions’ whether formally or informally
Primary audience: Senior leaders in healthcare, education and training staff, nurse leaders.
Date last updated: November 2017
Due for review: November 2018
Group member responsible: JC