Exploring the application of Human Rights Principles in Digital Health and Social Care

Scottish Care is delighted to work in partnership with The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE) and VOX (Voices Of eXperience) to support the development of rights-based digital health and social care policy and practice across Scotland. This includes the exploration of six principles for a human rights based approach to digital health and social care.

We want to engage with people who access services and people who provide support to refine the principles and collectively develop practice-based scenarios that illustrate their application in health and social care. We are hosting three events to gather people’s views and experiences on the application of human rights-based approaches in digital health and social care.

These workshops will be held online on the following dates:

We want to encourage a wide range of views and to ensure participation from people who may not be able to attend the workshops online. If you would be able support an engagement session offline, an engagement pack will be available. Participants will be able to return these electronically or by post at no cost to them.

To find out more, please email [email protected].

* If you cannot attend the first or second event for any reason, you are welcome to attend the event on 26 July.

Human Rights Principles for Digital Health and Social Care

The six principles build on the Human Rights Charter for Technology and Digital in Social Care launched by Scottish Care in September 2019 and are intended to be embedded into digital health and care developments at all levels.

  • People at the centre. Any digital experience needs to be flexible around individual needs, preferences and choice.
  • Human rights foundations. All digital services need to respect and protect human rights, whilst also seeking to enhance and fulfil individuals’ ability to exercise their rights.
  • Digital as ongoing choice. ‘Digital first’ approaches can risk alienating or disadvantaging those who are currently excluded from accessing digital services. Instead, there should be ‘digital choice’. People should have equal access to services on equal terms, regardless of their circumstances. Moreover, we need to recognise that circumstances change, and that people might want to switch between digital and analogue service provision seamlessly, in a way that suits them.
  • Digital where it is best suited. Digital service provision lends itself better to some outcomes and processes (i.e. updating preferences online, transactional services) than others (i.e. tailored support, relational services). We need to be aware of this and build digital capacity where it is most impactful and appropriate, whilst also keeping in mind that digital does not resolve everything and should not replace face to face services.
  • Digital inclusion, not just widening access. For digital to achieve its potential of delivering better outcomes for people, it needs to be truly inclusive of all members of society, including those most at risk of exclusion or harm. While widening access initiatives are a welcome step forward, digital exclusion needs to be tackled at all levels in the community through person-centred rather than system-available responses. Digital skills, confidence and literacy need to be at the heart of digital inclusion activities going forward.
  • Personal ownership of digital data. The move to digital services will come with increased amounts of digital personal data being created, shared and used across systems. In line with Data Protection regulations, we believe that citizens should have ownership over their personal information and be in control with regards to its use.
Human-rights-principles-for-digital-health-and-social-care_April-2021