As part of Devon County Council’s (DCC) implementation of the Care Act, research around current health and social care users’ access to the internet as a source of information and advice was required.
DCC approached Healthwatch Devon to undertake a survey of current service users and their carers about their attitude and experience of using online tools to access health and social care information and advice.
What We Did
In consultation with DCC, a survey was developed. See Appendix A for a copy. The survey was available from mid-October to early-December 2014. The survey was available online as well as in paper copies.
The survey was distributed through Healthwatch Devon and its delivery partners (Be Involved Devon, Devon Carers Voice, Devon Link Up, Devon Senior Voice and Living Options) as well as by DCC and social media.
A total of 263 people responded to the survey.
Key findings were:
- People are twice as likely to seek advice from a GP or community nurse regarding health and social care compared to any other source.
- A GP, community nurse or online search are the most popular sources of information about health and social care services.
- Almost two-thirds of respondents are likely to do an online search for information about care and support.
- Approximately 60% of respondents thought it was acceptable to receive information face to face, by telephone, printed leaflet or online.
- However, only face to face and telephone were acceptable to more than 50% of respondents for receiving advice. Only one-third of respondents were happy to receive advice online.
- 83% of respondents used a desktop or laptop computer. 39% used a tablet.
- 84% of respondents could access the internet when they wanted to. However there is a potential bias in these results as two-thirds of the responses were completed online.
- 83% of respondents could access the internet at home.
The most common forms of information required by service users and carers regarding health and social care were:
- Quality or qualification of the provider
This information needs to be up-to-date, clear and free of jargon.
Read our full report here.