Free online consultations for the NHS and patients "Whatever the NHS needs"

March 10, 2020
minute read

As the country is moving through the phases in response to Covid-19 we have explored how we can help the NHS tackle the containment and provide options as we accept that the virus “is going to spread in a significant way” in line with our ethos to do the right thing for the Health and Care sector. Echoing the sentiment from Chancellor Rishi Sunak that the NHS will receive “whatever resource it needs” we are offering our Online Consultation platform for free to any and all Healthcare organisations as well as supporting health and social care providers. By interacting online with patients services can avoid unnecessary face to face contacts and also manage their workload more effectively. Equally the service could be used by doctors working at home who are self-isolating, but are otherwise fit and well. For example they could use a simple consultation note to capture the details of a phone or video consultation if they are not able to directly access their normal clinical system.

We sincerely believe our platform has the right balance of technology, simplicity, and flexibility that will allow it to be rapidly adopted in a rapidly evolving situation.  You could be up and running within a day. There is no install for your organisation, there is no app for patients to install. With our platform you will only need three things to get going:

  1. A secure email address for your clinical service (such as NHS Mail)
  2. An idea of what kind of consultation you want to do (Assessment, Triage, Journal etc.) and what questions you would ask
  3. A lightweight business process to acknowledge and respond to the completed online consultation.

Our online consult platform allows services to adopt remote consultations quickly, safely and securely, and provide a viable alternative for patients to travelling to Practices, Centres or Hospitals.

With the service patients can complete the specific questions that a service needs to help with follow-ups, assessments, triaging and signposting on their mobile, tablet or PC. This can be used in response to the increase in service demand during this time to reflect the current Government advice and help to maintain vital services that the Health and Social care services provide.

For front line health and care providers, time will become ever more premium with a significant increase in pressure on the workforce, supporting additional services, as well as their demanding caseloads; and who also at risk of the infection themselves. As a digital tool forms4health can offer effective remote consultations, greater patient engagement and time saving for both clinical staff and patients. By moving to a digital solution we found that customers such as Leeds Community Healthcare Trust halved the length of referral time, reduced number of contacts required for the referral and the patient’s treatment pathway was 50% quicker than those not using forms4health.

forms4health online consults was built to reflect the NHS Health and Social care services that it supports. At its most basic level;

  1. A link is shared with the patient (from a website, SMS, email or QR code)
  2. The patient provides responses to the questions
  3. The response is sent as a PDF to a secure email for Practice, Service, Hospital (in the fullness of time we can integrate structured and coded data)
  4. Services can then review and respond to the information received and offer advice and care to the patient remotely.

Contact for more information.

UPDATE 15th March 2020: NHSx has published some guidance on IG, and perhaps some risk based temporary relaxation of normal IG rules. To note, the service we offer meets the normal, stringent IG and Cyber Security rules, so rest assured that this does not need to be a trade off you need to make – even when home working.

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