Accelerating technology enabled care during COVID-19

Near Me is a free and confidential web-based technology from Attend Anywhere that helps health and social care providers offer video consulting to people. Appointments can take place from home or wherever is convenient, via a device for making video calls like a smartphone and an internet connection is required.

Prior to COVID-19, all Health Boards in Scotland had commenced work to scale up the use of Near Me. This was still in the early stages of implementation and largely focussed on outpatient services. In 2019, there were around 9,000 Near Me consultations held across Scotland.

 

In March 2020, in response to COVID-19, Near Me was identified as beneficial to supporting physical distancing, reducing the spread of infection and helping support access to health and care services.

NSS National Procurement working with Scottish Government Technology Enabled Care (TEC) and NSS Digital and Security (DAS), negotiated an extension to the contract to allow an accelerated rollout of the solution to all services within each NHS Scotland health board.

Since early March, use of Near Me has increased significantly with up to 17,000 Near Me consultations occurring each week across Scotland. Use of Near Me has primarily been in general practice, outpatient services, community services, care homes and the third sector. 

On the back of this, and in recognition of the multitude of benefits the platforms offers e.g. helping waiting times, or accessibility for people who are in some of Scotland’s more remote locations, a vision for the Near Me programme has now been developed with the aim to have all health and care consultations provided by Near Me wherever it is clinically appropriate.  The vision has been endorsed by the Cabinet Secretary and Scottish Government.  For the remainder of the year, focus will be on implementing the vision, particularly in the social care setting. 

  • Visit the Near Me website for more information

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