NHS Scotland has a long history of using video conferencing (VC) to support clinical services. With an extensive VC network: staff travel is reduced; communication improved; and a wide range of services such as cancer Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) meetings, Managed Clinical Networks and education supported.
With the aim of citizens receiving health and care services as close to home as possible, the Technology Enabled Care Programme has supported the development and scale up of a web-based solution to provide video consultations from within a web browser.
Using the Attend Anywhere platform, services have been developed across Scotland under the Near Me service name.
Consultations via Video
This is a demonstration site. From here, stakeholders can participate in a video call set up by the team, and see the consumer experience first-hand.
What is Attend Anywhere?
Attend Anywhere is a web-based platform that helps health care providers offer video call access to their services as part of their ‘business as usual’, day-to-day operations.
Apart from internet access, all people need to use Attend Anywhere a Chrome or Safari web browser on a suitable device (PC, Laptop, Macbook or Android or iOS smartphone or tablet). Computer users will also need a web camera (usually built into laptops).
Full details of the system can be found on the Attend Anywhere resource centre.
To take part in a video call
How do people use Attend Anywhere?
Instead of travelling to their appointment, patients or service users enter the clinic’s online waiting area from a web browser on their computer, smartphone, or tablet. The service is notified when they arrive, and a provider joins the consultation when ready.
The service user experience
Service users don’t need to set up any kind of user account: they just click the ‘Start video call’ button on the health or care service’s web page (or link in an email or text message) and follow the prompts. The personal information they provide on entry is not stored beyond the end of the call.
The steps to follow are:
- Start video call. Do this by either, visiting the healthcare provider’s website and clicking on the Start Video Call button or Your healthcare provider sends you an email message, and you click on the included link to start the video call.
- The Video Call Setup will test your Internet Connection, Speakers, Microphone and Camera.
- Your call screen opens in your browser. You will see yourself. Waiting music plays and you may see information messages displayed on the screen.
- When a health or care provider joins your call you can see their image. Your image becomes a smaller (thumbnail) image. And moves to the bottom right of the screen.
The provider experience
Providers sign into the Attend Anywhere Management Platform from a web browser, select the Waiting Area that relates to their clinical service, then select a patient from the queue.
Quick start steps: Begin a consultation
- Sign in to the Management Console
- Select your Waiting Area to view its caller queue
- Select the person from the Waiting Area queue and select Join Call from the action menu
- The Call Screen opens
What do people need?
- A web camera (built-in or USB)
- A microphone (usually built in to most laptop computers and external webcams)
- Speakers and headsets, if required (speakers are usually built into most laptop computers, but not necessarily into external webcams)
(Recommended for clinicians) A second monitor (allows providers to display the video consultation on one monitor and patient information on the other)
- A reliable connection to the internet (if you can watch a video online, you can make a video call)
- A private, well-lit area where you will not be disturbed during a consultation
Users require one of the following web browsers to use Attend Anywhere
- Windows, Android, MacOS – Google Chrome: Version 70 or later
- Attend Anywhere always recommends using the latest version of Chrome or Safari for best video calling performance.
- A complete and up to date set of technical requirements are available on the Attend Anywhere Resource Centre
Support for users of video enabled health and care
The Attend Anywhere system is managed and supported by the National VC Team, hosted by NHS Grampian. The team provide:
- Management of the Attend Anywhere platform
- Setup of new waiting areas and creation of admin accounts
- Telephone support for staff
- A call back service for patients (a support call should be logged by a staff member and the VC team will phone the patient back when they are available)
- Admin training
Individual waiting areas are managed by a local administrator. If you want more information on using the Attend Anywhere system, please contact the National VC Team to arrange a demo by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
To help you get started
- If you are in an NHS Scotland Health Board or Health and Social Care Partnership, complete the Org Unit Request Form.
- If you are in a 3rdsector organisation working in partnership with NHS Scotland, complete 3rdParty Application Form.
3rdsector organisations will also need to fill out and sign the Code of Connection.
The Resources section on the National VC Team website is a great place to start if you are looking for help to improve any aspect of using video enabled health and care.
A wide range of support materials are available on the Attend Anywhere Resource Centre. This includes guidance on how to set up a new video consulting service, technical guides and resources for both staff and patients. Information in the Discover section is freely available, however accessing other section will require your Attend Anywhere username and password.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it secure?
Attend Anywhere video consultations are secure; the user’s privacy is protected. The user has their own private video room, that only authorised clinicians can enter.
How much does a video call cost the service user?
The video call is free (except for internet usage).
How much internet data will it use?
Service users don’t use much data while waiting for a clinician to join them.
A video consultation uses less than half of the data expended while watching a YouTube video in High Definition. (About 230 MB on a mobile device, and 450 MB on a PC for a 20 minute call, which is similar to a Skype or FaceTime call.)
Data use is less on lower-speed internet connections, or if using a less powerful computer, tablet, or smartphone. These factors can also reduce the overall quality of the call.
Data use increases when there are more than two participants in the call.
Where can I find more information?
An online resource centre. This contains a wider range of information covering the planning, implementation and operation of the system.
What do I do if something is not working?
- Download the trouble shooting guide or visit the resource centre for more information.
- Attend Anywhere Down Under
- Results and Getting Started 2019
NHS Near Me
Near Me is the service name developed by NHS Highland to support the development of video consulting clinics using the Attend Anywhere platform.
Most NHS Board have decided to adopt the Near Me service name. In addition to being co-designed with citizens, it avoids the use of the product name (Attend Anywhere) in citizen facing materials.
A patient information leaflet with the Near Me logo is available for download from the resource centre.
Near Me in Highland
The NHS Near Me service in Highland has been developed with the aim to roll out video clinics at scale across Highland. A phased approach was taken that saw clinics established between Caithness and Inverness, prior to a wider rollout across Highland.
The NHS Near Me User Manual provides an instruction manual for establishing video clinics in Highland. It describes the detailed service model supporting the rollout of Attend Anywhere clinics. While the content is specific to NHS Highland, it is anticipated that this can be used as a template in other areas.
To learn more about the progress of this work – take a look at these reports.
- NHS Near Me Progress Report – May 2019
- NHS Near Me April 2019 – Update
- NHS Near Me User Manual (Outpatient Services)
- Quick Start Guide for Attend Anywhere
- Video Consulting Good Practice
- Consent for Video Consultations
- Consent for Video Consultation with Incapacity
- Eligibility Guide for VC Consultations
- Guide to Video Conferencing Etiquette
Meet the team
Hazel Archer, Digital Access Programme Lead, Scottish Government
Hazel is a Statistician by training and has a background in IT and Project Management. She joined the Health Service in 2003, as a project manager to set up a paediatric telehealth service before joining the Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare. She currently leads the Technology Enabled Care work-stream scaling-up the use of the Attend Anywhere / Near Me video consulting platform along with supporting the Scottish Access Collaborative’s virtual attendance challenge.
Dawn Robb, Project Manager
Dawn is a project manager with NHS National Service Scotland. She has supported the programme since its launch in 2016 and has worked with services across Scotland to promote and extend the service. Dawn currently loves a good night’s sleep, when she can get one.
Yvonne has gained experience working in local authorities, private sector and third sector organisations managing organisational change, HR and workforce development.
Yvonne has engaged with the Aberdeen City Community Planning Quality Improvement network since 2015 and has worked in a Quality Improvement role with the Care Inspectorate since 2018.
Yvonne is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, has an MBA and is a supporter of continuous development – both personally and in the workplace – and is working closely with projects around Scotland introducing video consultation in a variety of settings.
Junior Project Manager, NHS National Service Scotland. Jill manages and supports projects throughout various stages of the project lifecycle. She has worked in both the private and public sector including creative, charity and health organisations. Working alongside Yvonne, she is supporting both the Scale Up project work along with Care Homes roll out of VC capability. She loves learning, cats and coffee.