Web 2.0 & Social Media – Access in the NHS

I’ve blogged previously about connectivity issues in the NHS and the problems with accessing Web 2.0 and social media sites that can support teaching and learning. In one of these posts I mentioned the work that the NHS-HE Forum Connectivity Best Practice Working Group, which I’m a member of.  This group has been pulling together and sharing case studies of good and best practice around IT connectivity in the NHS, which locally have certainly helped us make progress in Tayside.  My contribution to the working group has been to write a paper on Web 2.0 and social media in relation to education and research and this was published last week following the most recent NHS-HE Foum meeting held in London on 14th May 2013.

I had originally hoped to have the paper finalised before Christmas, however the delay perhaps has been quite timely given the Department of Health publishing its new digital strategy just before Christmas.  The DoH strategy “sets out how the Department of Health will give its staff the knowledge, skills, tools and confidence to embrace digital opportunities to deliver better health, better care and better value for all.”

At the moment for staff wanting to engage in digital opportunities to support learning and collaborative research there are still barriers with access to many Web 2.0 and social media tools being blocked.

The paper I’ve written highlights the emerging benefits of Web 2.0 technologies and, whilst taking account of potential risks, outlines some recommendations concerning their access.  I’m grateful to my colleagues from both the NHS and HE on the NHS-HE Forum Connectivity Best Practice Working Group for their feedback on the various drafts on the paper and their input into the final version of the document. We hope this document will prove helpful to various groups within the NHS as they seek to raise issues around the accessibility of web-based technologies.

I hope the paper will be of some use to those wanting to start a dialogue with NHS organisations about access to Web 2.0 and social media sites in the NHS to support learning and research.  I’m also hoping that we can start to gather case studies that can demonstrate ways that these technologies can be used to maximise their benefits for education and research particualrly given the growing interest in #FOAMed. I’m also planning to do some follow-up work to this paper which I hope to share over the next month or so.

If you’d like to contribute a case study on good practice or are interested in connecting around these issues please do leave a comment.

 

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