NHS Near Me: Delivering a Digital Service that Patients Want

Speakers:

Clare Morrison – Senior Clinical Quality Lead, NHS Highland

Brian Wayling - Executive Director, Intermountain Healthcare, USA

Hazel Archer – Digital Access Programme Lead, Scottish Access Collaborative, Scottish Government

Annette (patient) – Respiratory, Psychiatry, Oncology and eHealth Teams, NHS Highland

NHS Near Me enables patients to attend outpatient appointments by video, either from home or from an NHS clinic. This session will describe how NHS Near Me works from both a patient and NHS perspective.

NHS Near Me started in January 2018 with one clinic in one location. After every appointment feedback was sought from patients and clinicians. At the same time, staff throughout the organisation were engaged in discussing how to embed NHS Near Me into the existing outpatient appointment system. This included patient coding, appointment booking, clinic organisation, records, and the eHealth infrastructure. Over 100 changes were made to start NHS Near Me services. 

Without co-design with patients, key elements of NHS Near Me would never have happened. For example, patients did not want a separate web link for each clinical service they attended and wanted NHS Near Me to have a single point of entry for all services. Equally, patients wanted to be greeted on screen immediately by a real person instead of hanging on in a waiting room. 

Without co-design with clinicians and wider staff, NHS Near Me would have been a separate add-on service rather than integrated within the main outpatient appointment system. 

A standard process for using NHS Near Me was agreed in July 2018. Since then, NHS Highland has been scaling up the service. By January 2019, 18 clinical specialties were providing NHS Near Me appointments. Several of these were in the top 20 of NHS Near Me/Attend Anywhere consultations, by volume across Scotland. In the starting location, 8 per cent of outpatient appointments are provided by NHS Near Me. Not only is this a better patient experience, but it also delivers a more sustainable, environmentally friendly service.

This session will provide a national and international perspective on the use of video consulting, and how this is likely to develop in the future.