Near Me Groups (beta) Release Note
13th December 2021
The beta version of Near Me Groups is now available and Group Consultation Waiting Areas can now be created.
Although a beta release, by which we mean it is functional, but missing a few features e.g. chat, we think that Group Consultations will be of use to many providers now.
At present, up to 30 participants can join together for up to two hours. That will rise to 70 callers for 12 hours and include chat with the final release.
Testing is underway with those Health Boards and Organisations who have enabled network access to the new platform.
We will continue to work with the remaining Health Boards and Organisations to support them with network and firewall settings.
The updated Data Protection Impact Assessment which includes this new feature has been sent to local Information Governance leads for review and approval.
Group Waiting Area Guidance:
1. Decide on the type and frequency of groups that you anticipate running. Each Group Consultation Waiting Area can only house one session at a time. If your department wishes to host simultaneous Near Me Groups, multiple Group Consultation Waiting Areas will be required.
2. Liaise with your local Near Me leads regarding your requirements, particularly around naming conventions for the waiting areas so they are consistent, easily understood and identifiable by both patients and staff.
3. Confirm with your local Information Governance department that the group platform is approved for use locally with patients
4. Confirm with your local IT department that your network settings will support Near Me Groups.
5. Request a Group Consultation Waiting Area. These must be created by the National Video Conferencing Service, Local Near Me Lead or local Organisation Administrators. If you would like NVCS to create a Group Consultation Waiting Area for you, please complete this form, choosing the relevant options.
6. Run some test groups calls with colleagues plus people outwith your health board’s network before using with patients. The National Near Me Team is available to support you with this.
Once you have your waiting area, please refer to the simple guides for both Service Providers and Callers found here. More feature-specific guides and videos will follow.
In addition, for those scheduling and running Near Me Groups we have produced Interim Near Me Group Guidance to help get you started.