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Video consulting during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic Implications for scale up and sustainability

About 2 mins to read
  • Research, funded by the Health Foundation, into the extent to which the COVID-19 crisis has shaped, enabled and constrained the scaling up of remote video consultations.
  • The Nuffield Department of Primary Care at Oxford University has been commissioned to build on existing research into video consultations in health care.
  • Will result in transferable insights that will inform future changes in the post-COVID-19 NHS, including strengthened national infrastructure for supporting video consulting services at pace and scale.
  • Running from June 2020 to January 2021.

As part of nationwide attempts to contain coronavirus (COVID-19), health care organisations have rapidly introduced new service models that avoid face-to-face contact between health care professionals and patients, including video consulting.

This has been one of the fastest and most extensive scale ups of a service since the NHS was established, and is a logistical and cultural shift, as well as a technical one.

Although there is evidence that supports the potential of video consultations on a small scale, little is currently known about how to successfully spread, scale up and sustain video consulting across settings, and how this technology can be used to improve services and outcomes for all patients.

This seven-month research study by Oxford University aims to support and inform the rapid implementation of video consultations across NHS primary and secondary care; to understand what has changed in the delivery of services due to the COVID-19 crisis; and to gain insights that can inform development of sustainable models of video consulting in the immediate and longer term.

The research has two components: a UK-wide rapid evaluation of the adoption and use of video consulting, and seven locality-based case studies of (existing and new) video consulting services in primary and secondary care. The research team will combine surveys with qualitative interviews, virtual ethnography and analysis of documents.

The research outcomes will include transferable lessons for national and local decision makers on the drivers and behaviours that support or constrain rapid adoption and implementation of video consulting, and how NHS infrastructure can better support digital innovation.

Contact details

Professor Sara Shaw, University of Oxford, sara.shaw@phc.ox.ac.uk

Joanna Scott, Q Insight Manager, the Health Foundation, Joanna.scott@health.org.uk

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