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Blue Door Awards spotlight: NHS England and NHS Improvement

The Blue Door Awards, announced in October 2020, are all about putting the spotlight on some of the most effective ways our business customers have leveraged digital connectivity, setting the standard on what’s possible when organisations match the right technology with their own individual needs.

We’re thrilled to be able to showcase these innovative initiatives. Today, we’re showcasing NHS England and NHS Improvement who rapidly accelerated their remote video consultation initiative from the intended four years of development work to just six weeks to ensure ongoing care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Attend Anywhere” – remote conferencing NHS tablet initiative

Category: Use of technology to connect with customers – FINALIST

The challenge: NHS England and NHS Improvement had a 4-year plan to roll out video consultations across NHS trusts in England, helping patients and hospitals to save time, money and protect the environment by taking fewer journeys. The COVID-19 outbreak challenged the NHS to adopt new ways of working to deliver patient care. This included making the most of the digital technology which could help reduce the number of attendances at NHS sites. The ability to provide video consultations would allow both patients and NHS staff to stay safely at home, where possible, and reduce the chances of catching or spreading Coronavirus in hospitals/clinics.

As well as a secure video consultation platform, NHS staff needed training and support materials to help with rapid implementation, as well as new hardware to deliver this change at the pace required.

The innovation: In March 2020 NHS England and NHS Improvement nationally procured a secure video platform called “Attend Anywhere”. The team recognised many NHS staff would need additional hardware if they were to be able to use the platform with their patients. The team worked with O2 to supply 6,500 tablets with mobile data connectivity and Digital Workplace applications to ensure the devices were secure. Together they created an end-to-end service, delivering the tablets throughout England in a 6-week period.

The execution: NHS England and NHS Improvement nationally procured and funded access to Attend Anywhere, a secure web based video consultation platform, for all NHS trusts in England, until the end of March 2021. The NHS England and NHS Improvement team then worked closely with the O2 public sector team to set up a project delivery team for the tablet initiative. Together NHS England and NHS Improvement and O2 worked with their approved suppliers like Apple, Asavie, Checkpoint and VMWare to deliver these managed tablets throughout England successfully during the UK wide lockdown. The delivery of the tablets was welcomed by NHS trusts, particularly the pace at which they were distributed. This was a result of collaboration, planning and effort from both the project teams and relevant suppliers.

The outcomes: The initiative has been a huge success and has helped NHS trusts across England to support patients remotely whilst they stayed at home during the COVID -19 pandemic, protecting both the NHS and patients from the virus.  Since March, the urgent provision of the video consultation platform, and tablets to support its use, has enabled over 35,000 clinicians to regularly use video consultations with their patients, together delivering over 500,000 hours of video consultation time with patients. Digital transformation brings huge benefits to the NHS long-term and this is one example of how technology can help the NHS and patients now and in the future.

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