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North Cumbria CCG implements ReachDeck to make online content accessible for everyone in the community

North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CGG) serves a population of more than 325,000 across 35 GP practices and eight integrated care communities.

North Cumbria CCG needed a tool to make their website and important COVID information accessible to everyone in the community. Read on to discover why they chose ReachDeck, and how they've benefitted from the software so far.

Outcomes

  • North Cumbria CCG use ReachDeck to reach their diverse community
  • The team strive to make their online content and communications as inclusive as possible
  • ReachDeck now helps the CCG’s users to access and understand important healthcare information

Background

North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CGG) serves a population of more than 325,000 across 35 GP practices and eight integrated care communities. The CCG commission primary care, community and hospital services to get the best healthcare and health outcomes for our communities. They aim to make a difference by improving the health and wellbeing of individuals and their families. The focus on taking serious action to reduce the inequalities in health that exist between different communities across North Cumbria. 

Being an NHS commissioning group, it's essential that the CCG is able to make all of their information as accessible for their communities as they can.

Communications and Engagement Officer for the CCG, Paul Day says,

“For us, it's really important that our community can access and engage with the information we have online. Whether that’s reading or listening, or however they best interact with information. For example, we've got a lot of information on the COVID-19 vaccines, so it’s vital that this can be accessed and understood by diverse audiences. So having this tool available is important, especially at the moment, when we're trying to make sure that everyone's got the most up to date and accurate information about COVID vaccines.”

The global COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted the need to make online content as accessible as possible for the CCG and their communities.

Paul says, “This pandemic initially brought a halt to all kinds of things not just local attractions and businesses but worldwide, including music concerts, Hollywood productions and sporting events. It was the massive scale of this pandemic that really highlighted to us how important our online presence is for our local people so they have this trusted source of information that they can go to, especially as the vaccination programme continues to progress. Our communities are looking to Cumbria websites for information and reassurance. But more importantly they’re interested in what that information means for them. Serving a diverse community means that people are going to want to consume that information in different ways, and we needed to ensure there is a way of doing that.”

The Challenge

The team at North Cumbria CCG were focused on their engagement strategies and wanted to ensure that they were reaching all the community groups that they possibly could. Paul comments, “The main challenge is making the information more accessible. Making as many alternative formats as people need. A lot of the time, NHS information isn’t straightforward so we try our best to adapt it into digestible language that people across the board can understand.

“The main issue for us was accessibility. But we also wanted to make sure that the information we were providing was targeted towards as many different people and communities as possible, which meant different language formats and BSL (British Sign Language) video resources being added whenever they were available. In the background we also saw accessibility laws change, so we obviously needed to ensure we were in line with these updates, but our real driver has always been to make the site as accessible as possible.”

The Solution

A previous colleague had recommended Texthelp products, from their experience in a previous role, to the CCG so they began to investigate the options ReachDeck would give them.

Paul comments,

“The reason we started to look into ReachDeck was because we’d heard about it initially from one of the other NHS organisations that we work closely with. It sounded especially useful since our old website wasn’t the easiest to navigate and was becoming very outdated by modern standards, so it worked well to help improve that experience. Once we created our new website we continued to use it because people had become used to this feature and it made our information more accessible to a broader audience. I personally like the usability of the ReachDeck Toolbar button, you click on it and it brings out a handy toolbar with so many useful features for people to view the information in a variety of different ways.

“It’s a great thing to be able to say to people that we have our information available in lots of different formats and we have a tool to help you access the information you need. We’ve had lots of great feedback about what a big help this is for the communities we serve. I’m also looking forward to getting back to hosting our community groups to hear how helpful this has been for our website users, particularly in regards to our updates surrounding the pandemic.”

Implementing ReachDeck has been worth it to know that we’re providing some additional options to cater for as wide a range of people as we possibly can. To have that extra option where someone wants to have information read aloud or made bigger, or change the colour. To some people these options might not be a big deal, but to other people this might be incredibly important and absolutely integral to how they receive their information.

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