NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has invested in more than 200 Samsung tablet devices for care homes in the county.
The move has allowed residents access virtual appointments with GPs and other clinical staff.
The data-enabled tablets come equipped with the same software that’s enabling doctors to hold increasing numbers of virtual consultations with patients, as practices try and limit face-to-face appointments in response to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
By equipping care homes with this technology, clinical leaders in North Yorkshire hope it will reduce the risk of exposure to the virus for residents, as well as doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.
Dr Charles Parker, clinical chair for the CCG, said: “All 51 GP practices in North Yorkshire are now hosting secure video consultations with patients and it has been a huge success.
“While there will always be occasions when there is no substitute for a face-to-face consultation, this technology is proving to be absolutely suitable for a great many GP appointments and patients have been terrific at adapting to these changes.”
Adding: “We know that a lot of care home residents are clinically vulnerable, so if we can exploit existing technology to reduce the numbers of visits we need to make to see our patients in care homes, it will help to keep them safe and helps us to manage the risks associated with providing essential care during the Covid-19 pandemic and potentially beyond.”
Practices are not facing any additional technical requirements to set up appointments with care home residents – it’s simply an extension of what is already offered, where that’s suitable and appropriate.
The tablets have been distributed to every qualifying care home by the Nidderdale Plus Community Hub organisation and North Yorkshire County Council.