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Q Doctor

How Q doctor was able to get clinicians back to work by providing NHS Digital approved tools for remote patient care

Knowledge Centre
The Challenge
  • Covid-19 brought massive demand across the entire NHS including urgent care and 111 calls

  • Healthy clinicians sent home or self-isolated following government

    guidelines with no access to clinical systems via the HSCN

  • HSCN Connectivity unable to happen fast enough with current

    provider, in order to meet Covid-19 challenges

The Covid-19 pandemic brought a massive increase in demand to urgent care and put the entire NHS under pressure. However, tens of thousands of clinicians who were able to work were being told to stay at home or self-isolate following government distancing rules. At home, these clinicians didn’t have the physical hardware needed to securely log in to their clinical systems and were not able to use personal devices to provide consultations and access patient records. The NHS needed a solution to help these medical professionals to remotely provide vital patient care, fast.

Prior to Covid-19, around 60% of all 111 calls would result in a call back from a GP or nurse, with a growing adoption of video consultations for this service. Since the spread of Covid-19 has dramatically scaled the volume of 111 calls adding to the pressure on primary and urgent care across the board, NHS England and NHS Digital have announced that NHS healthcare providers are able to use video conferencing tools, particularly in the short term, to deal with tackling situations around Coronavirus and allow consultations to go ahead.

Having supplied video consultation software and services to the NHS for the last few years, predominantly as a workforce solution, the Q doctor application has provided extra capacity across GPs, clinicians, nurses and many healthcare organisations who need it. Having gone through various approval checks, Q doctor was approved by NHS Digital and NHS England to be included in an emergency framework, designed to get remote clinicians back in service whilst practising government safety guidelines.

With the exponential scale in the provision of software and services to the NHS, in order to continue to provide vital day-to- day and urgent care services remotely, Q doctor needed to scale the capacity of their Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) connection, which had quickly become saturated. Work to expand that connectivity wasn’t able to happen fast enough, in order to meet Covid-19 challenges, through their incumbent provider. A new perspective was needed.

The Solution
  • Virtual workspace and online video consultation solutions to allow clinicians to continue to treat patients from home

  • End-to-end connectivity platform from Cloud Gateway to connect Q doctor’s software, built in AWS, to the HSCN

  • HSCN connectivity provisioned and onboarded within just one week following the first engagement with Q doctor

Q doctor was looking for a provider who could advise on the complete end-to-end connectivity solution to connect the software, built in Amazon Web Services (AWS), to the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN). This included connection agreements, IP addressing and routing.

Working with the Q doctor engineering team, Cloud Gateway was able to set up a working proof of concept within 10 minutes, using cloud-native connectivity platform, PRISM. A new PRISM tenant with HSCN connectivity was provisioned and onboarded within just one week following the first engagement with Q doctor. As a cloud-native provider, Cloud Gateway was able to provide the visibility, security and guidance needed.

As soon as the platform had been deployed, Q doctor was able to get to work enabling remote clinicians to access clinical systems and provide patient care, wherever they were based.

The Impact
  • 300 clinicians able to provide remote patient care using the virtual workspace system within 2 days of deployment

  • Improved patient outcomes during this unprecedented time with the ability to treat patients wherever the doctor is based

  • Q doctor’s solutions are making steps towards NHS England’s target of 30% reduction in face to face outpatient appointments

Q doctor exists to make access to medical advice and treatment easier. Founder, Dr Chris Whittle, is an NHS doctor who wanted to make a change to the way people access healthcare. Whether the block was in time (two week wait to see a GP) or convenience (seeing somebody at a time that suits you), the barriers were all too present for people to see someone when they needed to. Chris enlisted help to build a safe, secure, easy to use platform to put doctors and patients together online, keeping NHS founding principles at the forefront of everything that we do. Today Q doctor is a group of likeminded professionals providing easy to use video consultations with a growing number of NHS surgeries and organisations.

Q health - the video consultation product tailored for Secondary and Urgent Care - is the first Clinical Assessment Service going live with NHS Digital approved video consulting, and the first specialist service (Cardiology) being delivered over secure video.

Just a couple of days after the deployment of the scalable HSCN connection, Q doctor had already enabled 300+ clinicians to provide remote patient care using the virtual workspace system. The future will see exponential adoption by up to tens of thousands of clinicians now working remotely. This will support vastly improved patient outcomes during this unprecedented time.

"The Cloud Gateway team understood the need for a fast response in the current situation, and went above and beyond expectations to fast track onboarding. We are incredibly proud to support clinicians’ ability to provide remote care during these unprecedented times. This is a key step to improving patient outcomes and reducing the need for face to face outpatient appointments now and in the future."
Dr Chris Whittle / Founder & CEO, Q doctor

Q doctor’s software solutions are making steps towards the 30% reduction in face to face outpatient appointments, targeted by NHS England and giving clinicians, GPs, nurses and many other medical professionals the ability to provide care, wherever the doctor or patient is based.

Q doctor have been able to provide this use case in support of the Isosec Virtual Smartcard - the NHS identity agent and identity card authentication management solution - to address the problem that the NHS is currently facing with physical smartcards. These physical cards take a long time to produce and require expensive specialist printers. The Virtual Smartcard eliminates inefficiencies, gives rapid access for new starters and temporary/agency staff and enables the use of virtual desktop clients for medical professionals working from home.

The remote working trend is one that reaches across all industries. The use of scalable solutions which enable secure HSCN connectivity shows that this could be the new reality for Healthcare providers too, bringing a new work/life balance to the profession.


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