Digital Patient Champion

Need help online? Our friendly digital patient champion, Irene, can show you how to do that…

How did I become a digital champion?

·      I responded to a promotion via PPG group meeting

·      I worked with Confederation Digital lead to scope out the role, priority areas, my digital skillsets (I am a retired teacher – though not of IT)

·      I was keen to support others to; register with NHS App, learn to use Patient Access & digital triaging systems, electronic repeat prescription

·      I set-up a Gmail account to maintain confidentiality of my personnel emails

·      I wanted to start with very small numbers of people, to test the water

Why I became a digital champion

Patients need someone to show them what to do

Help to bridge the digital gap

One of the GPs in the practice saved my life years ago, I want to give something back

We as patients need training to use technology

What difference digital patient champion role has made

It is early days to quantify and measure impact since starting five months ago, though I see the following benefits;

I am more confident in using digital tools like MS Teams and developed new digital skill

·      Supported the practice by providing feedback; around contacting patients (unidentified number vs doctor calling), automated voice message, mediator between patient & practice, efficiency of virtual PPG group meetings, website content,

Challenges on the way

·      Learning new digital tools & language that comes with it

·      Lots of information out there on how to use digital tools, having a simple link to the right information, in the right format provided by practice helps

·      Managing people’s expectations of what & how much digital champions can do

·      Knowing how best to sign post patients to relevant services

Some learning to consider:

·      Digital adoption is like climbing a mountain, not going to get there overnight, don’t rush

·      Test out digital pathways and the information that goes to patients with your patient groups

·      A practice offers multiple Apps and third party digital products, confusing for patients, explain what each does, use your website & SMS to teach people

·      Invest in practice staff digital education, this will minimise confusion at patient level

·      Offer face to face digital support to patients at practice, have a device (laptop) they can use when pandemic allows

·      Supporting patients around digital requires numerous skill sets not just savvy digital/IT skills; endurance, persistence, communication, personnel, coaching, mentoring………..

·      A dedicated go to person at practice & timely responses to the champion is key

·      Patients with mobility issues face greater difficulties in accessing online services, find creative ways to meet their needs.


Please tell Irene your answers to the following…

  • Thinking about your GP appointment, how was your experience of our service?
  • Thinking about your response to this question. Please tell us why you feel this way?
  • Is there anything that would have made your experience better?