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The Project

Project Aims

The project aims to create an example of an institutional space for user-participation in digital health innovation within the Black Country digital health innovation eco-system that will enable discussion and feedback, knowledge exchange and co-innovation between user communities most at risk of potential health exclusion due to digitalisation, the Black Country Integrated Care System, and firms developing digital health technologies.

Project Objectives

This project has been designed with two objectives: (i) to create awareness amongst housing associations and community organisations of their role in digital health innovation as users of digital technologies given their deep knowledge of their communities, and to build their capacity to play this role; and (ii) to bring together community groups with the organisations leading the process of digitalisation in the NHS (i.e. the Black Country Integrated Care Systems) as well as firms innovating in digital health to explain, illustrate and discuss the characteristics that digital health technologies and systems need to have to be socially inclusive.

Community Digital Champions and Peer Research

Central to the project is the role of community digital champions as peer researchers. Community digital champions are local people with lived experience of inequalities and socio-economic disadvantage and therefore resonate with groups in society who are most impacted by health inequalities and digital exclusion. Community digital champions will collect qualitative data from different local communities to identify their challenges and needs regarding digital health. The data will form the basis for an ‘Inclusive Digital Health Innovation Guide’ which sets out the characteristics digital health technologies need to have to meet the needs of these communities. The guide should also articulate ‘what a good digital health system looks like for communities from the Black Country’.

The project is funded by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (ESRC IAA) based at Birmingham Business School, the University of Birmingham.

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