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A project looking at video consulting during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic is funded by The Health Foundation

A young woman with a headset on speaks into a computer. © Shutterstock

Dr Sara Shaw, Associate Professor, and colleagues in the Interdisciplinary Research in Health Sciences (IRIHS) team have been awarded funding from The Health Foundation to further build on the department's evolving programme of research on remote care. The project examines the spread and scale up of video consulting across the UK NHS, and considers what has changed in the delivery of services during the COVID-19 pandemic and what might remain and why.

The project, running until January 2021, aims to support and inform the rapid implementation of video consulting across NHS primary and secondary care and to gain insights that can inform development of sustainable models of video consulting in the immediate and longer term.

The use of remote and video consultations has been a defining feature of the primary care response to the pandemic. What was once a small-scale service offered by a handful of practices rapidly became everyday practice across the UK in a matter of weeks.

As the nation grapples with how to move through the COVID-19 crisis, healthcare professionals, leaders and policymakers need to understand and reflect on what has changed, for better and worse, in the delivery of services due to the COVID-19 crisis. Insights from this unexpected shift in service provision will be key to the development of sustainable models of video consulting in both the immediate and long term.

The project involves a UK-wide survey of the adoption and use of video consulting, interviews with decision-makers and frontline staff and seven locality-based case studies of (existing and new) video consulting services in primary and secondary care.

The team plans to highlight 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.

For more details, please see the Health Foundation here.