Urgent care services - Near Me in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's flow navigation centre: good practice example
The redesign of urgent care programme in partnership with the National Technology Enabled Care Programme and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have developed this good practice example for the delivery of Near Me video consultations as part of urgent care services.
As part of the Scottish Government's Programme for Government in 2019-2020, a commitment was made to utilising technology, such as video consultations, across NHS Scotland to support those who may struggle to travel to access health and care services. The Attend Anywhere video consultation platform had been previously purpose built for such a need and following collaboration with patients in NHS Highland, the system was publicly branded as NHS Near Me.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Scottish Government rapidly accelerated the implementation of Near Me, aiming to reduce the requirement for face-to-face consultations whilst also reducing exposure to infectious diseases such as Coronavirus or the flu.
A national licence was procured for NHS Scotland, with the roll out forming a key part of the NHS remobilisation framework.
Near Me enables the public to attend medical appointments from home or wherever is convenient. It uses an internet connection, allowing members of the public to join using their own device such as a tablet, mobile phone or laptop. Access is provided via a 'virtual' online waiting room, designed to simulate the usual process undertaken when attending face to face.
It is recognised that Near Me will not be suitable for all appointments. For example circumstances where patients may require a physical examination or procedure undertaken which requires a face to face consultation.
The benefits of Near Me include:
- reduced travel to appointments: time, cost and convenience
- reduced time away from work, school or home
- easier to attend if members of the public usually require someone to attend appointments with them
- enables members of the public to have someone with them for support at their appointment (either with them or by video from another location, even from abroad)
- better for the environment
- reduces spread of infectious diseases
To date Near Me has been utilised within both primary and secondary care and across all NHS Scotland territorial Health Boards. The platform has also been implemented within Health and Social Care Partnerships, Local Authorities and third sector organisations.
Around 50,000 video consultations are undertaken across NHS Scotland every month with usage continuing to grow. Since December 2020, the service has expanded to the national redesign of urgent care programme to support a reduction in self-presenting at Emergency Departments.
"It was more efficient because I wasn't exhausted from the journey, my mind was fully engaged. The dialogue itself was far more constructive" – Patient
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