By Accountable Care Journal-
NHSX and NHS Digital have negotiated offers with telecommunications companies to help care homes and care providers get connected to the internet during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The initiative aims to encourage the use of digital technology to ensure strict social isolation to protect vulnerable residents, patients and staff.
Internet access and associated technologies enable remote GP consultations, digital ordering of prescriptions and other remote communications with health and care professionals, families and loved ones.
Data from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) with BT Openreach shows that 7,000 care homes in England are without adequate internet connections. Only a third of the sector is fully digital, with the remaining two thirds either entirely paper-based or using a mix of paper and digital.
NHSX and NHS Digital have worked with telecommunications companies to publish a series of offers to help care homes and care providers get connected to the internet or to upgrade their existing internet connectivity.
NHS Digital is also providing free NHS Mail accounts to care home providers to help them safely share residents’ data and queries with doctors, nurses and GPs involved in their resident’s direct care.
Matthew Gould, Chief Executive Officer for NHSX, said: "Being online is crucial to enable access to services, such as video consultations or secure email, and it can allow residents to stay connected to families and friends."
Meanwhile, NHS Digital’s Programme Director Patrick Clark, added: “We’re working with the nation’s telecommunications suppliers who have put together a series of exclusive offers that will help care homes obtain cost-effective access to the connectivity packages they deserve.
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