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Digital Front Door Stage 2 is go thanks to The Peter Sowerby Foundation 

India Brain, Trust and Foundations Fundraising Manager at Brook, highlights the important work this grant from The Peter Sowerby Foundation will make possible.

We are delighted to receive grant funding from The Peter Sowerby Foundation to support the cost of designing, developing and implementing the digital tools that will form Stage 2 of Brook’s Digital Front Door. This vital funding will enable us to empower young people to self-care using our new digital tools, increase accessibility to sexual health and wellbeing support for young people living in rural areas, engage new groups of young people that prefer digital provision, and increase our clinical team’s capacity to provide in person support for vulnerable young people.  

The Stage 2 digital tools will be informed by our ongoing evaluation of Stage 1 and comprehensive Discovery Report. Based on the work completed to date and feedback received we expect to include: 

  • Record Display: will enable young people to have agency and control over their health, view their own Brook records, and help us to help them spot patterns, promote self-care and change behaviour.   
  • A triage tool: this important component pulls together the Digital Front Door products and creates a smoother user journey. The tool will ask young people what they need (i.e. an urgent appointment (in person or video/telephone), a counselling session, service opening times, information about healthy relationships etc).   
  • Integration of tools – to enable data to flow between the different tools and our clinical record system, thus significantly improving staff efficiency by ensuring staff have access to all relevant information in a single easy-to-use hub  

As part of Stage 2 we will also be working with our clinical teams to support a cultural change to embed these digital tools into their everyday working lives – so that digital is not separate to, but part of the way that they work to support Brook’s clients.  

Accessibility 

The new online journeys created by our Stage 2 digital tools will increase the accessibility of our services, making it easier for particular, often vulnerable, groups to engage with our offer; for example, people with disabilities may have difficulty accessing face-to-face services or those in deprived, rural areas.  

However, online routes will not replace our in-person or telephone offer; information about other ways to access Brook services will always be clearly signposted as an alternative option for people who are unable to, or would prefer not to, use an online route or want to speak with a professional. We also support cross-sector working and maintain up-to-date, openly accessible details of other local and national services.  This includes working with the NHS to implement an Application Programming Interface (API) that allows us to signpost users to appropriate sexual health services for their needs in their area.  

Collaborative Design and User Testing 

Involving prospective users in design is a key part of our product development. Both external service users and internal staff users have been involved in the project from the start, contributing to the Discovery Report that laid the foundations for the Digital Front Door project. Throughout the design and development phases for each new feature, prospective users have participated in workshops to share what they need and, importantly, want to see when accessing sexual healthcare online and to test and provide feedback on products.  

Through ongoing capture of feedback and monitoring engagement, we will continue to refine and improve products in line with user requirements and demands. Additionally, as part of our commitment to continuous improvement, and in line with the Government Digital Service framework, we are using an agile development methodology to prioritise and implement changes based on user feedback which will continue to be used throughout the life of our Digital Front Door tools and services.  

Sharing our Learning and Insight 

We recognise the high level of innovation in this project and that we have a responsibility to share learning across the sector. We have signed up to the Charity Digital Code of Practice and as part of which, we are committed to transparency and sharing our insights to support other organisations to learn and improve. We will be taking a leading role within the sector by regularly engaging Public Health England (OHID) with our progress to identify opportunities to share our findings and data for the benefit of wider society.  

Brook’s Digital Front Door provides a breakthrough opportunity to challenge how we approach digital in sexual healthcare. Although the features that we are building into the Digital Front Door are not new and are widely used in the private sector, by well-known commercial digital portals, our inclusive approach to development and innovation means that we wholly understand how to use digital to support young people and marginalised groups with their sexual health and wellbeing. 

Thank You 

Thank you once again to The Peter Sowerby Foundation for supporting the cost of creating our Stage 2 digital tools. 

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