Working with partners to increase skills of the public

Health and Digital Literacy Partnership

Health Education England’s NHS knowledge and library services team is working with CILIP to co-lead a partnership for health and digital literacy.

With Libraries Connected and Arts Council England, we have agreed a Compact to work together to support citizens to develop the skills that they will need to access, assess and use health information in an increasingly digital environment.  

We are joined in this activity by a wider range of stakeholders, including NHS England/Improvement, the Patient Information Forum and representatives of specific professional groups, such as pharmacists and prison librarians.

This work also connects as the health strand of the Media and Information Literacy Alliance https://mila.org.uk/.

We have agreed to work in partnership to develop and share skills and resources and to pilot approaches to increase health literacy.

We anticipate that this will be a 5-year partnership.

Intended outcomes

Our strategic aim is that citizens have the health literacy skills, the underpinning digital skills and resources to make shared decisions and manage their health and wellbeing.

We have agreed three intermediate outcomes that form the basis of our workstreams:
1. Improve health and digital literacy skills  
2. Enable people to find and use high-quality patient, health and wellbeing information 
3. Build community partnerships, test approaches and share good practice

For each of the three work streams, we are bringing together colleagues from other organisations to help us to develop the interventions. We will, where opportunities arise, prioritise activity in areas with low health literacy and where people are excluded digitally.

Work stream 1 – Skills: Improve health and digital literacy skills Chair: Ruth Carlyle, HEE Interventions:

  • Identify and promote tools to enable information providers and citizens to build their digital and digital health navigation skills
  • Determine gaps and map provision; commission or develop new training resources
  • Train information providers to use tools and techniques to improve health and digital literacy skills in diverse settings 

Work stream 2 – Health information: Enable people to find and use high-quality patient, health and wellbeing information Chair: Sarah Mears, Libraries Connected Interventions:

  • Equip citizens with tools and confidence to access, assess and use health information resources
  • Identify and agree a platform for hosting health and digital literacy resources for health and digital literacy tools and navigation to high-quality health information sources
  • Enable the public to navigate access to evidence-based health and wellbeing resources through partnership activity

Work stream 3 – Partnerships: Build community partnerships, test approaches and share good practice  Chair: Nick Poole, CILIP

  • Pilot interventions to test approaches and share learning within different localities and settings (these may include testing of skills development activities or high-quality patient information tools)
  • Develop the role of local champions for health and digital literacy awareness and skills
  • Facilitate shared learning and share tools to drive sustainable local community partnerships

Pilot sites

We are working with 8 initial sites to test out how health and digital literacy can be increased and sustained through local information providers. Details of a second round of Expressions of Interest in pilot sites will be circulated in March 2022

Page last reviewed: 14 January 2022