The borough of Torbay, affectionally known as the “English Riviera”, is home to the largest aging population over 65 than anywhere else in the UK. It’s also home to Healthwatch Torbay, a community organisation set up by the government in 2012 to gather local people’s views and experiences about local health and social care services.
Here at Recite Me, we’re excited to welcome Healthwatch Torbay as a recent client. We chatted with Simon Culley, Communications Officer at Healthwatch Torbay, to learn more about this valuable organisation and how web accessibility plays such a crucial role in its day-to-day operations.
Simon explains, “With an aging population in Torbay, that also comes with extra healthcare concerns. There are more people here with disabilities and visual impairments, so the need to have a more accessible website to reach that main part of the community was absolutely paramount.”
Healthwatch, known colloquially as the “TripAdvisor for healthcare”, provides users with a transparent, two-way form of communication between patients and healthcare providers. Patients can rate and review services they’ve used, give a star rating, and write about what they thought was good and/or bad. Similarly, healthcare providers can also use the site to respond to feedback and address any concerns.
Since the crux of Healthwatch’s service is carried out online via their website, it became crucial for the organisation to have a website that was well-equipped to cater towards visitors with a variety of individual needs and health concerns.
Simon adds, “Ultimately, the people that use more kinds of healthcare services locally are the same people who have these healthcare problems themselves, so the more we get feedback from the actual people using them, the better. We didn’t want anyone to feel like they were missing out or like their voice wasn’t being heard.”
Championing the views of everyone, not just a small sector, is an important factor for many businesses, particularly within the healthcare field. Yet, many businesses probably don’t ask for feedback from their most valuable source: their audience and customers. Simon encourages more organisations to listen to their customers, adding: “It sounds simple enough, but the only way you’re going to know if you’re doing a good job is to actually ask the people that you want to get that information from. I think, first and foremost, if organisations do want to know how they can improve, listening to the opinions of the very people you provide your service to gives you the most valuable insight.”
The team was recommended to look at Recite Me and were pleasantly surprised.
“It blew my mind,” Simon admits, “I didn’t know you could have that wide selection of options. We jumped at the chance to get it. I wrongly assumed it was just a program that would change the font or background color. When Martin went through every feature that was available, it was a real eye-opener and it offered more than anything else we’ve seen before.”
Working alongside Martin Lea, Sales Executive at Recite Me, the Healthwatch team were led through a full tutorial to find out how each feature worked, who it would benefit and why. It’s a valuable walk-through which all of our new clients will receive, allowing them to unlock the full benefits of Recite Me. “It really showed us things that we weren’t aware of previously. One of the best features we saw was the dyslexia fonts, as none of us knew that there was a specific font type best for dyslexia!”
Though it may be common to feel isolated or ignored if you’re dealing with a disability or impairment, rest assured that there is always help available. Whether it’s through contacting your own local Healthwatch branch or finding a local community organisation more aligned with your needs, Simon encourages everyone to do a simple search online to find the many resources out there waiting to help. “Most of all,” he explains, “Never be afraid to ask. If you don’t ask you don’t get, and someone can only say no.”
To find out more about Healthwatch, including how to find your local branch, visit www.healthwatch.com
To find out more about Recite Me, including how to book your own free demonstration, please visit us at www.reciteme.com