Update on Recommendation 11 – Digital innovation

It has been noted that options based on the use of personal mobile devices should be included in this review.


The following actions have been reported by Clare Morrison from NHS Highland as taking place over the past two months:

  • Links to recommendation 12, 13, 14.

  • NHS Near Me is a NHS Highland service to deliver video consultations at scale maximising use of the newer video consulting platform Attend Anywhere.

  • Work on NHS Near Me began in January 2018, with the first phase focused on developing the service for outpatient appointments (furthest patient travel distances). Testing and refining of a standard process for use of the NHS Near Me service complete May 2018. Scaling up of NHS Near Me across all clinical services for outpatient appointments started June 2018. Business plan for NHS Near Me agreed by NHS Highland in July 2018. National funding for infrastructure to deliver NHS Near Me to Skye (and rest of Highland) applied for in July 2018. Currently awaiting funding decision.

  • Next development phases for NHS Near Me:

  1. Develop NHS Near Me at home model. Initial service involves patients attending local NHS premises for video call to ensure equity of access (where patients do not have the equipment/confidence to connect at home) and to provide clinical support to video calls. Next phase is to develop an at-home model. NHS Near Me has been set up to allow at-home calls now but initial testing identified difficulties with unreliable internet connections at home, therefore a system to test this prior to consultations has to be developed. The pilot phase (from autumn 2018) will involve Skye, see link with recommendation 12.

  2. Develop NHS Near Me for other clinical services, eg, primary and community care services. To begin testing in autumn 2018.

  • NHS Near Me enables professional-to-professional communications 24/7, with instant access and, due to the lower cost of equipment than VC units, easier ability to spread. This is being developed on a clinical service by clinical service basis.

  • Ongoing links with the Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare and NHS2

  • The ambition is to roll out to use in peoples own homes through use of personal devices. There are some significant limitations around connectivity and these need to be addressed to ensure reliability.

  • NHS Highland to raise with local MSPs and Minister.

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