Reflections on Digital Government conference, Lonodon, 25 May

21 May, 2022

The "Digital Government" conference at Westminster, London on Wednesday frequently touched on local and national government attempts to digitally "include" vulnerable, low literacy, impaired and/or disadvantaged citizens.

When we worked in a small family practice in the 1980's we had an age sex card index system of collecting patients together with different needs or diseases. As we became digitalised in the later 1980's the card index was gradually replaced by a digital "card index". Our family medicine work was directed by our own special loves and interests, by patient demands and by our paid contract.

Our paid contract and, I belive, still is, partly on number and age and type of patient (including an allowance for patients in deprived areas, patients with mental health problems, patients with frailty, drug and alcohol problems etc.

This close relationship with a group of registered patients and the average 4 tines a year consultation rate with patients (actually a higher than 4 consultation rate with post adolescent women than men - for women attended for reproductive and pregnancy, breast and gynaecological healthcare) and for people over the age of 65 then even more over the age of 75. (These are figures from my days of practice.) I believe the Royal College of General Practice still hosts pilot epidemiological practices which collate age sex figures of consultations of all types from their digital age/sex, clinical records.

The point of this disclosure is that one knew patients' capabilities fairly well and that a considerable percentage of patients need proxy support, not just digitally, but administratively and socially.

My feeling after the Westninster conference was that the digital government service support companies needed to investigate and invest in social proxy digital inclusion.

HIFA profile: Richard Fitton is a retired family doctor - GP. Professional interests: Health literacy, patient partnership of trust and implementation of healthcare with professionals, family and public involvement in the prevention of modern lifestyle diseases, patients using access to professional records to overcome confidentiality barriers to care, patients as part of the policing of the use of their patient data. Email address: richardpeterfitton7 AT