An evaluation of the NHS Attend Anywhere software has been published. The report presents the findings of an external evaluation of the Attend Anywhere and Near Me video consultations service used across health and care services in Scotland. The report outline benefits, challenges and recommendations for future development for the initiative.
The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the roll-out of Attend Anywhere as patients and clinicians seek new ways to interact in light of social distancing requirements across Scotland.
A summary of the key benefits of Attend Anywhere is outlined in the report. They are as follows:
- Increased number of patients using video consultations instead of face to face.
- Improved access to specialist services. Greatly improved access for patients living in remote areas, and to rapid specialist opinion.
- Less need to travel.
- Improved management of certain conditions.
- Improved access for hard to reach groups.
- Reduced professional travel and improved efficiency.
- Improved collaboration between professionals and new ways of working.
In 2019, almost 7000 consultations were conducted via Attend Anywhere across approximately 35 different clinical specialities involving 180 clinical departments and 64 GP services; 91% of this activity was in secondary (i.e. hospital care).
Attend Anywhere has also been used by a number of third sector organisations to provide advice, support, counselling and palliative care to service users.
The report makes a number of key recommendations. They are as follows:
- Produce for each clinical specialty ‘rules of thumb’ for what kind of clinical conditions and encounters are generally safe for video.
- Basic training and multiple try-out opportunities for staff and patients.
- Develop and disseminate analysis of system-level evidence about potential financial savings from Attend Anywhere.
- Identify and address clinical and care governance and safeguarding issues.
- Working with professional networks, disseminate stories of up-and-running services.
- Communicate the “gaining a service” narrative.
- Assign and support local champions.
- Provide set-up support for ready-to-roll sites, paying careful attention to routines between participating sites.
- A Quality Improvement Collaborative to maximise inter-site learning.
- Implement a consistent national branding for the video consultation service across the country.
A further phase of the evaluation has been commissioned to explore the rapid scale-up of Attend Anywhere in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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This report is being shared under the Open Government Copyright licence.