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Bringing Care Closer to Home

NHS Near Me is a new NHS Highland service which aims to provide NHS care as close as possible to patients’ homes.

The creation of NHS Near Me highlights two key areas:

  1. Delivering person-centred care.

  2. Applying a systematic quality improvement approach to developing a digital service.

NHS Near Me came from patient demand: every year, thousands of patients travel from across our remote and rural area to attend hospital outpatient appointments. Patients said this travel was unacceptable. Early testing revealed that video consulting was not just viewed favourably by patients, but often actively preferred.

A standard process manual for NHS Near Me was then developed. It works because it was designed by front-line staff and has buy-in from across the system. All staff involved in every part of the hospital outpatient process (from patient booking to clinic provision) and all support services within the hospital participated in the development of the service. Patient and staff feedback was sought at multiple test clinics at one location, and the service developed through over 50 cycles of change. Only when the standard process was agreed did scaling up begin.

A key difference between NHS Near Me and previous use of videoconferencing is that NHS Near Me is introducing telehealth at scale. By focusing on putting the supporting processes and infrastructure in place, the aim is for NHS Near Me to become one of the normal ways in which outpatient appointments are delivered.

NHS Near Me is currently being scaled up across NHS Highland. The service’s website is here: http://nhsh.scot/nhsnearme and a short film is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ydZTqsrmAo&feature=youtu.be

In June 2018, the process manual and branding for NHS Near Me was adopted nationally for use across NHS Scotland by the Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare. Details here: https://sctt.org.uk/programmes/video-enabled-health-and-care/attendanywhere/nhsnearme/

#improvementscience #innovation #outpatients #technology #telehealth