An update on our Digital Transformation work

Take a look at our work to improve Healthwatch’s use of digital systems since January, and help us understand your digital needs in a post COVID world.
Man using an iPad

Understanding your digital needs in a post COVID world

In January we wrote a blog informing you about our plans for this year and how we’re looking to improve the use of digital systems across the network.

Thanks to your input in the Wildman and Herring user research via surveys, workshops, and 1:1 discussions, we were able to understand more about your needs around the gathering, analysing and management of data.

Since the user research in 2019, we’ve all been all hands on deck as we respond to the pandemic. As we emerge from the pandemic to a situation where (hopefully) face-to-face engagement can resume, we wanted to check back in with you to see if anything has changed about your working habits and use of digital systems.

We’ve put together a small survey to make sure that our digital plans remain on track to meet your needs. Deadline to complete: Wednesday 16 June.

Go to survey

What have we done so far?

In January we kick-started our Digital Transformation work. Here is an update on everything digital.

Click the links to be taken to the relevant sections.

Piloting new engagement platforms

We’re incredibly grateful for the time and effort spent by all the Healthwatch involved in our engagement platform pilot. We have six local Healthwatch trialling Engagement HQ and five trialling Citizen Lab.

The engagement platforms aim to encourage online participation with people through a range of new tools such as discussion forums and workshops and allow you to easily analyse qualitative data.

As a group, we’ve been testing the platforms to try to get feedback from people on their experiences of vaccines, with some local Healthwatch also using the platform for a variety of local projects such as understanding the maternity experiences of women from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic Background and a 360 feedback from stakeholders about the work of Healthwatch.

What are we testing?

We’re testing several different functionalities within the systems such as workshops, surveys, discussion forums, as well as analytical and reporting functions.

At the end of the pilot, each local Healthwatch will have completed a task list and survey to help us understand the suitability of the products we have tested. We will also be taking into account factors such as user experience and resource and capacity across the network to sustain the platform’s use to help in our decision on where we invest our resources.

When does the pilot end?

The pilot comes to an end at the end of July 2021, with the following month being used to gather feedback from the Healthwatch involved in the pilot before a decision can be made.

Building a new central data store

Development is underway to build a Central Data Store (CDS) i.e. a database so that there is one central place for Healthwatch England and the network to access data.

The user research showed that there was a need for a simpler taxonomy than what currently exists in the CiviCRM to help input, filter and surface data. It also showed a need for an automated way to capture and share data between local Healthwatch and Healthwatch England – and for all to be able to see and analyse this data once submitted.

The CDS will enable you to be able to analyse your data against a national data set, as well as benefit from in-built tools to help with your qualitative analysis.

Work in progress

There are several elements that we’re working on to make this possible, safe and secure including:

  • The build of the central data store itself.
  • Local Healthwatch dashboards that enable you to access your data and restrict the view of identifiable information and qualitative information specific to your area. Anonymised information will be available across the board.
  • Data visualisation – enabling you to compare your local Healthwatch with others on a local, regional and national level.
  • A refined Data Sharing Agreement to ensure that you are aware and happy with how the data is being processed and the security of the data that’s being collected.
  • Creation of a feedback module that links the central data store with the ‘Have your say’ form on the Healthwatch template website, reducing the need for double entry of data and saving staff time.
  • We are looking at the options for integrating any successful platform from the current pilot programs into the CDS, improving the amount of data available.
  • A more simplified taxonomy to help the filtering and comparison of data.
  • The input of historical data sets i.e. the reports library so that trends can be identified over time.

We aim is to get the beta version of the CDS available by early July. We will then move onto a phase of testing and refinements.

Survey tool

You told us that although essential for your engagement work, survey tools were a huge additional cost on your finances. The user research also said that the analysis of qualitative data was a huge drain on your resource and that often the survey tools didn’t have the functionality of offline inputting for when your staff and volunteers are out and about at engagement events.

We’re looking at how we can help meet these requirements, looking into survey systems that continue to be user friendly, but offer additional functionality at a more reasonable rate.

Local Healthwatch website upgrade and developments

We now have over 70 local Healthwatch using the new website template. Working with the network, we are continuing to make improvements from both a website visitor and a content management perspective.

Since January we have:

  1. Introduced a new ‘digital dashboard’ that will help people who use the Healthwatch website to see how their site performs against a benchmark of other Healthwatch sites. This will help highlight where you’re doing well, areas for improvement and allow for easier reporting on website stats for commissioners.
  2.  Made changes to the events function to improve people’s experience and make adding content more efficient.
  3. Worked with the network to identify a list of potential refinements to explore and then prioritise for the financial year.

At the moment, we’re working with our developer on the best approach to upgrade the sites from Drupal 7 to the latest version.

What’s happening to the CiviCRM?

The user research reported that a lot of you were unhappy with the functionality of the CiviCRM, with many of your reporting that it did not meet your user requirements.

We have paused all development work, apart from maintenance and bug fixes, on the CiviCRM as a result of this feedback while carrying out the pilots of the various systems we are testing. We are not offering any new instances of the CiviCRM. Once we have completed these we will decide whether or not we will continue to support the CiviCRM or choose to retire it.

Share your ideas and questions on Workplace.

Whether you want to ask a question or share something with the network, Workplace is our online community for Healthwatch staff to network and work with one another.

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