The Doctor Will Zoom You Now: getting the most of out of the virtual health and care experience

Healthwatch| July 2020| Will Zoom You Now: getting the most out of the virtual health and care experience

Healthwatch and others have produced an insight report which looks at how video consultations can offer great experiences for patients; but this report outlines how this adoption needs to focus on people receiving care. The report recommends a ‘blended approach’ where the usage of a combination of communication tools can create a more equal space for health care providers and patients to interact.

Remote consultations and the use of technology offer some great opportunities to make significant improvements to general practice, hospital outpatient and mental health appointments, but making the most of this opportunity means understanding the patient experience. In our research with patients we heard that, for many people, remote consultations can offer a convenient option for speaking to their health care professional. They appreciate quicker and more efficient access, not having to travel, less time taken out of their day and an ability to fit the appointment in around their lives. Most people felt they received adequate care and more people than not said they would be happy with consultations being held remotely in future.
However, there is no one size that fits all solution. Key to a successful shift to remote consultations will be understanding which approach is the right one based on individual need and circumstance. A blended offer, including text, phone, video, email and in-person would provide the best solution.
By focusing on the needs of people receiving care and using a combination of communication tools we can create a more equal space for health care providers and patients to interact.
Health and care providers will need to adapt to a more blended approach to communication with patients in order to meet the needs of patients. To do this they need to build on existing good practice, and look beyond healthcare to other industries that are successfully engaging people remotely. This work needs to be done by the health service, and not become the responsibility of the patient.

Full details from National Voices

Royal Wolverhampton implements tool to predict use of PPE #covid19rftlks

Health Tech Newspaper | July 2020 | Royal Wolverhampton implements tool to predict use of PPE

An innovative tool has enabled The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust to utilise technology from TeleTracking to report on, measure and predict Personal Protective Equipment numbers.

The tool allowed the trust to measure and map the amount of PPE needed day-by-day and week-by-week by front-line staff; with NHS guidance and modelled it in line with the predicted trends of the Covid-19 virus.

The data collected between 10 March – 9t April highlighted that across five wards, there were on average 21 staff interactions per Covid-19 patient each day. The data also showed a trend which suggested that the requirement for PPE would increase by a factor of 1.5 every 7 days, so the requirement on any day will be 50% higher than was needed 7 days prior.

The full story is available from Health Tech Newspaper

Digital innovations to support vulnerable people during COVID-19 outbreak #covid19rftlks

New parents, unpaid carers, the homeless, young people and cancer patients could benefit from digital solutions as part of the TechForce19 challenge | Department of Health and Social Care


People who may be particularly vulnerable or isolated during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, including new parents, the homeless, unpaid carers, young people and cancer patients, could soon benefit from a range of innovative digital solutions selected as part of the TechForce19 challenge.

NHSX, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have announced 18 innovative digital solutions being awarded up to £25,000 under the TechForce19 challenge.

The funding for each project will be used to develop new ways to support vulnerable people who need to stay at home or need other help in the community for extended periods of time.

Full detail at Department of Health & Social Care

Enabling remote working for GPs and practice staff

Currently 30% of GPs are self-isolating, most are more than capable of working, but cannot access the systems they need, and this is putting huge stress on their colleagues and the primary care system.

Trustmarque and Microsoft have been working with NHS partners in the Midlands and London to use the power of Azure to solve this problem. This enables working on personal laptops or smart devices in a secure NHS environment. The Virtual Desktop has been built in the last two weeks and is currently being tested by GPs with plans to roll out to 1000+ within a week. Positive feedback has been received.

Full detail at Primary Care Commissioning

Child protection information to be shared with school nurses and health visitors

A tool that provides data on protected vulnerable children for the NHS and local authorities is being broadened to include school nurses and health visitors | NHS Digital

The move forms part of NHS Digital’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and is intended to strengthen protection for children at risk of abuse at a time when the risk for many is heightened.

Child Protection Information Sharing (CP-IS) is a system that alerts NHS staff when children who are subject to a child protection plan, or children designated as ‘looked after’, or pregnant women who have an unborn child protection plan, present at an unscheduled care setting (such as an A&E or walk in centre). It also alerts the child’s social worker when such a visit occurs, ensuring a joined up full picture.

Now the system is being urgently amended so that school nurses and health visitors will receive details of all children falling under any of those three categories in their school or area. The information will be sent to them via their clinical system from the NHS Spine.

Full detail at NHS Digital

Surge in the number of people using NHS tech during coronavirus outbreak

Research shows 38% of people have increased their use of NHS technology since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

The survey carried out by nfpSynergy asked 1000 people if they were using more NHS technology (such as apps and websites) as a result of the outbreak, and 26% agreed that their NHS tech usage had increased, while a further 12% strongly agreed.

Some of the NHS technologies seeing the biggest increases are the NHS Website, the NHS App, NHS Pathways, NHS 111 online, NHS login, Electronic Prescribing Service (EPS) and Microsoft Teams.

Full story at NHS Digital

Video consultations: A guide for practice

In response to COVID-19, the NHS is scaling up the use of virtual consultations. Important new information and guidance is now available from researchers at the University of Oxford to support video consultations. 


COVID-19 creates an unprecedented situation. Many GP practices are considering introducing video consultations as a matter of urgency to reduce risk of contagion.

This document is packed with useful, practical advice and tips to help doctors, other primary care clinicians, and patients navigate these almost uncharted waters at a time of unprecedented challenge for the health service.

This preliminary document covers five questions:

  1. When are video consultations appropriate in primary care?
  2. How can a GP practice get set up for video consultations?
  3. How can a clinician conduct a high-quality video consultation in primary care?
  4. How should patients prepare for, and participate in, video consultations?
  5. What is the research evidence for the quality and safety of video consultations?

Full document: Video consultations – a guide for practice

See also: Using virtual consultations in the fight against COVID-19 | Interview with Professor Trish Greenhalgh via Health Foundation

Hospify becomes first NHS-approved clinical messaging app

Digital Health | March 2020 | Hospify becomes first NHS-approved clinical messaging app

Hospify has become the first clinical messaging app to be made available on the NHS Apps Library.

The app offers similar functionality to popular messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, but includes additional security features to make it a secure platform for sharing patient information.


The app, which provides an NHS-compliant platform for sending and receiving messages and can be used by clinicians to share patient information, is now approved for use by professionals and patient across the NHS.

Hospify said it had taken more than a year for the app to pass through “rigorous” testing and assessment processes by various NHS organisations and regulatory bodies (Source:  Digital Health).

Read the full news story from Digital Health 



NHSX tech plan for health and care

NHS Providers | March 2020 | NHSX tech plan for health and care on the day briefing

NHSX has published its tech plan for health and care, setting out its vision for how technology will support the ambitions of the long term plan. 


 The tech plan builds on the principles set out in the secretary of state’s statement on the future of health care, published in 2018 as well as the NHSX mission statement published last year. The aim of the tech plan is to describe how the deliverables in the long term plan will be achieved through digitisation. The long term plan committed every NHS provider to have achieved a core level of digitisation by 2024.

The tech plan defines this level of digitisation as:
• Decent hardware (e.g. replacement of old laptops)
• Adequate networks (powered by full fibre and 5G)
• Integrated systems that allow flexibility in managing clinical and operational workflows

The briefing is available from NHS Providers

Have your say on the Tech Plan for health and care (NHS Join the conversation)

Dementia: Cancer scanner ‘could help early diagnoses’

BBC News | 22 February 2020 | Dementia: Cancer scanner ‘could help early diagnoses’

A cancer scanner could be used to identify some of the earliest and most difficult to diagnose forms of dementia, scientists have said.

Doctors at University Hospital of Wales (UHW) in Cardiff said its PET scanner could show signs of the condition in people who are not showing symptoms.

About 47% of people in Wales living with dementia do not have a diagnosis.

The Welsh Government said it is investing £10m a year in its dementia action plan (Source: BBC News).

The full story is available from BBC News