e-Participation and the NHS

social media iconse-Participation refers to the ability to engage with patients, carers and communities using online technology or social media. Social media describes web-based tools used to share information, promote discussion and build relationships. These tools enable people to create and share content, including text, images and videos, and connect directly with others. We use the term social media to include:

These tools can enable patients, carers and communities to access information; provide peer support for self management of long term conditions; make complaints or give feedback; influence local service development; or take part in a dialogue with their local NHS Board. They allow the NHS to disseminate information; connect with a wider range of audiences; provide feedback to people about how their views have helped improve services; and build relationships.

The Scottish Health Council is encouraging NHS Boards to consider using social media and e‑Participation to complement traditional methods of engaging with patients, carers and communities. We carry out research into Boards' current use of these tools, organise events for sharing and learning, and produce guidance to support Boards.