Attend Anywhere – the introduction of virtual appointments
08 June 2020
By Hayley Carmichael
The advent of Covid-19 has facilitated an accelerated adoption of digital technology to enable remote clinical practice at Sussex Partnership.
Innovation in a crisis with long term benefits
It took just 14 days for Sussex Partnership to roll out Attend Anywhere, a virtual consultations solution for inpatient and community mental health services. The new system means people can still virtually meet with a mental health professional during lockdown and social distancing; but has longer term benefits too.
The digital team at the Trust brought in clinical staff to work with IT specialists to ensure that Attend Anywhere met their needs, which enabled both a swifter roll out and broad adoption from teams across the range of mental health services from forensic mental health to dementia care. The project team supported staff to use the new system with training sessions available at three different times each day during rollout.
Success and patient care
Within just four weeks over 5,000 virtual consultations with patients had been enabled using Attend Anywhere across both Sussex and Hampshire. And since roll out began there have now been over 10,000 consultations to date; the proof is in the pudding here.
The project team ensured the user experience led any adaptations needed as roll out progressed so Attend Anywhere really does function with patient care front and centre.
It’s a win, win, win
The roll out of Attend Anywhere carried minimal costs, with some small investment needed in IT equipment such as webcams. They also purchased Android tablets which were easy to use and clean to support urgent care lounges, inpatient units and residential homes for older adults.
In addition, it brings savings in both the cost of travel to patients and in terms of carbon emissions, with less cars on the road for healthcare purposes. The ability to provide the same level of care remotely creates an excellent opportunity to minimise the environmental impact of the delivery of healthcare.
And most importantly it is giving patients a level of care that supports them when they most need it. Alex Christie, a nurse in Sussex Partnership’s Basingstoke CAMHS team said, “Being able to offer a platform that allows the conversation to take place in a more familiar, safer-feeling setting than a CAMHS clinic consulting room has been welcomed by several of my regular clients – especially many with neurodiversity.”