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NHS CB builds customer service platform

9 November 2012   Daloni Carlisle

The NHS Commissioning Board is working on a new ‘customer service platform’ to take over from NHS Choices and NHS Direct.

Bob Gann, director of partnership and strategy at the NHS CB, told EHI Live 2012 that this would be a way for the public to engage with the NHS using a wide range of channels, including telephone, web, apps and social media.

He said: “We know there is demand to do things differently and to do things better. There is a significant wish [among the public] to transact and do things online and in a digital environment.”

At the moment, he pointed out, such options are rarely available. A survey of 2,200 people by NHS Choices in August 2012, for example, found that around 40% wanted to look at their records on line, book appointments and order repeat prescriptions.

But consistently only 1% or 2% were able to do so. For instance, while 36% of the sample had expressed interest in viewing their medical records, only 2% had actually done so.

The NHS needs to make better use of social media, for example by putting people in touch with the help they need via multichannel warning systems such as the US 311 service, Gann said.

311 is a service operated by US cities that enables people to access information about government services via the web, phones, skype, twitter and apps.

As an example of the way it could work, Gann cited the recent storm to hit New York. People posted problems to the service, and both government and friends and neighbours responded.

With the increasing reliance on mobile phones – already, 40% of the 16m visits to NHS Choices each month are via mobile devices – Gann said the NHS also needs to gear up for mobile viewing and understand how to take part in the app revolution.

The new platform - which has yet to be named – will include directories of service, health information, ways to feedback about care experiences, and ways to transact with the NHS, for example by booking appointments.

It should also be able to help people find the best quality apps from among the 13,000 health apps already on offer, he said.

The platform will take over where NHS Choices and NHS Direct leave off as they close next year.

Gann said: “It will deliver a national set of authoritative information, preserving what is best of NHS Choices and NHS Direct and provide more from independent information providers.”

Gann is already working with a range of information and service providers including patientopinion.org.uk. Some services will be ready for spring 2013 and the full platform up and running by November 2013 when the NHS Choices contract expires.

Bob Gann is keen to hear from people interested in helping develop the platform and can be contacted at engagement@nhs.net.

 


Related Articles:

2 News: NAO Praises NHS Direct Implementation | 25 January 2002
News: NHS 111 goes digital | 11 September 2012
5 News: Final death knell for HealthSpace | 22 May 2012
Last updated: 28 November 2012 13:42

© 2012 EHealth Media.


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Confused ...

john794 75 weeks ago

Is it a new site being proposed or the same one that already exists at nhs.uk with a different name? Bob seems to be saying both...

Also, how's this 311 number going to work? I assume he means 111 but those contracts are about triage. Is that what we we are taking about? If so, what's new about it? Its just a shorter version of the NHS Direct number which is already promoted on NHS.uk. I'm told 311 in America allows you to comment about and complain about services directly but that too is already available on nhs.uk and has been for quite a long time.

Bob's a biddable chap but the logic is not coming through here.


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Rebranding and service refreshes are not positive (unless you are a marketing company)

anon 75 weeks ago

Just as people develop enough confidence in a service it is changed fundementally without migration of data. This is such a waste and patients are reluctant to invest time and effort in fly by night services. We saw this with Google Health who pulled the service before the user base had a chance to be built.

The reason 999 has lasted so long is because people remember it and dont have to think about what to do, we now have 111, 101, 112 etc rather than just resourcing a unified number properly. This leaves people confused as to what number to call before we even consider website urls and the plethera of sites and passwords we have to remember.

I have access to my "record" but this is just repeat prescriptions and appointments, not even a secure messaging facility. I want full interactive access to my record, just as I do with banking. I am surprised it is as few as 40% wanted to access their record, I suspect people have become bored with such derisory functionality from some services. However we should not always "beat up" the suppliers as frequently the NHS and/or GPs are restricting the functionality available in the systems.


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opening up new opportunities

LMPDCommunications 75 weeks ago

More data online means more interesting opportunities. I have a long term condition and I want to be in charge of my data, allowing anyone I want to be able to see it. Currently I need my GP, Diabetic Nurse, Barts, the Whittington and possibly others to see my data - they aren't connected up - but give me my data and let me manage it online and they soon will be. That's part of what Kelsey is trying to achieve and not because of ego but because that is what public service users expect.


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opening up new opportunities

Richard Sarson 75 weeks ago

Indeed, many patients , including me, want exactly what LMPD wants. But doctors, stuck in their silos, just do not understand.


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I sympathise - but...

Mary Hawking 75 weeks ago

Do Barts and the Whittington *have* your data electronically?

Because if it is only (or even partially) paper based, remote access - for you or anyone else - is impossible: and the promise is only for access to *GP* records.

Not sure how your Diabetic Nurse holds your records: is she part of the hospital set-up, GP practice or Community?

Your requirements appear to be for more access to your own records: is this the same as "more data on-line" as far as you are concerned?

And please don't forget that your GP, DSN and hospital clinics/Consultants are actually keeping records to help *them* look after *you* - and need to be able to access them, and be sure they have not been altered by anyone...


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LMPD is spot on

paul_smith 75 weeks ago

The only person who can really integrate their health record is the "patient". That's because in part, my personal health record includes many facets such as my sense of well-being, my exercise regime, my visits to (private) clinics, my taking of non-prescription drugs etc etc. And the non-joined up silo approach that the NHS has isn't going to resolve this by building data stores in data warehouses accessible only by those with an NHS smartcard.


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I am not looking for your sympathy

LMPDCommunications 75 weeks ago

Do Barts and the Whittington *have* your data electronically? - Yes they do. If I go for a blood test at the Whittington then all the information is inputted onto a computer system which is electronically transferred to my GP. This is not accessible to Barts. I do not own this data and have been told that it is not supposed to be shared with me.

The Nurse is part of the GP Practice, but she doesn't seem to have access to any appointment information - either the ones at the Whittington or at Barts. My GP made the wrong appointment at Barts because he doesn't know how to use Choose and Book and the consultants at Barts didn't read the letter that accompanied the booking.

Now this is the bit you don't seem to understand. I want to own my own records. I obviously need to have access to them, but it goes much further than that. I want the results of my blood tests emailed to me so I can then allow access to an online resource so that when a consultant at Barts tells me he doesn't have access to my blood test results I can give him a password and there they are. This saves me being stabbed in the arm again and money for the NHS.

And finally, in your most ire inspiring condescending point, 'I' look after 'myself' whilst 'they' constantly screw up my prescriptions, book wrong appointments and provide the wrong advice (and yes, I have changed GP since and all the most recent problems relate to the new one who is actually pretty good). You seem not to have lived with a chronic condition. I know more about my condition then my GP (check out latest QOF targets). And why the hell would I alter my own records when that's the information that keeps me safe?! If I own it there is less chance of a cock-up then if the NHS ‘owns’ it.


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New platform

jamesfone 75 weeks ago

Re online appointment booking:

a) Are there any arguments against providing patients with online appointment booking? I can't think of any.

b) What proportion of GPs (and other service providers) currently provide this function to patients? I'm guessing not many.

c) What are the barriers to making this function widely available?

Of course there should be a cost-benefit evaluation, and discussion of the best mechanism to enable it to happen, but does anyone disagree that it is desirable?

Re the platform's other content (excluding patient record access):

The implication is that mobile access to both current sites isn't optimal, and that mobile visitors are already at 40% - no doubt a number only going to go up. Therefore a good reason for change.

Also, it would be foolish to dismiss considering how apps might be used to aid patients. The NHS Direct App hasn't had great reviews, but has been used over 3 million times (I think this is over 1 or 2 years?), indicating demand.

The phrase "...and provide more from independent information providers..." suggests that they want to reduce the amount of in-house content creation, presumably to cut costs where they feel a third party provides equivalent content. I guess this is what Boots did with WebMD.

Patient record access is of course far and away the most contentious and difficult of items mentioned, but the article does not actually say that this is what the new platform will do, it is just part of some survey results. So I think we can leave that particular straw man alone for the moment. Though if the platform isn't involved with this, then I think Mr Gann was ill advised to bring it up.


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Arguments against online booking

mrtablet 75 weeks ago

A commercial business goes 'on-line' to generate extra profitable business. They especially seek customers they otherwise would never have had. If transaction costs are reduced for existing customers as well that's great - but it's not the main intention.

The NHS on the other hand is going online (it seems) PURELY in the hope of reducing costs.

If your aircraft or cinema is fully booked well in advance you are delighted.... you either lay on an extra plane/performances and/or anticipate your seats will be filled for years to come.

If some potential passengers or audience members are turned away because your capacity is maxed out then it's just too bad.

This is definitely not the case with NHS clinics.

No one seems to think this through.... the NHS is rationed but it is rationed irrationally.

Opening up an on-line "free for all" might only result in more treatment being given only the most vocal, articulate and techno-savvy patients and (worse) the worried well.


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Transaction Costs

starslikedust 75 weeks ago

I'm not sure it's correct to say that moving online is to generate new business. It's pretty clear in the airline and financial industries that it was done to lower the per transaction cost as well.

On the point about filling slots, the ERDIP reviews showed that electronic booking of acute appointments reduced the wait time by 6 weeks as the process was more efficient.


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Only some kinds of appointments

jamesfone 75 weeks ago

I don't think anyone (in their right mind) would be arguing for patient online booking for things like outpatient appointments - i.e. where the need has to be determined by a professional.

What I (very) strongly suspect this refers to is appointment booking with 'open access' services, in particular GPs. I.e. substituting an online appointment for ringing up your GP surgery, ringing back because it was engaged, then having a short chat with a receptionist about when you can have an appointment, then writing it down on the back of an envelope.


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Data quality and surveys

Mary Hawking 75 weeks ago

" A survey of 2,200 people by NHS Choices in August 2012, for example, found that around 40% wanted to look at their records on line, book appointments and order repeat prescriptions.

But consistently only 1% or 2% were able to do so. For instance, while 36% of the sample had expressed interest in viewing their medical records, only 2% had actually done so."

No mention of whether that was 2% of the total sample (how was the sample selected?) or 2% of those whose practices offered the facility, i.e. the GP system supports patient record access *and* the practice has switched the facility on?

And lumping repeat prescriptions and appointments (available in most if not all systems) and patient record access (available in EMIS and possibly - getting very different messages on this - SystmOne) together is unhelpful: again, is the "1 to 2%" of patients using these facilities refer to all three functions or to any one of the three?

If you base your asessment of demand on people actually using NHS Choices, what proportion of the users of the NHS are you surveying?

Remember the surveys of when patients would like their GP surgeries to be open? Much was made of the 16% who said they wanted them open late, early and/or weekends and bank holidays: when you looked at the respondents, most of these were low users - mainly males aged between 20 and 45 (IIRC): but it made a very convenient figure for political purposes.

Is this the same?


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Isn't this just...

JacquesOuze 75 weeks ago

yet another politically driven rebranding exercise? Most of the things cited that the new 'platform' will do are already available from NHS Choices and NHS Direct.

Similarly, most of the extras are either superficial gimmicks or are not possible without coordinated change across multiple systems and organisations (viewing records online).

In terms of a name, perhaps we should just call it Kelsey's Ego and have done with it?


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