The government will look for “innovative operating models” for the NHS and other health and care settings as the country recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
On May 12, the government published a 50-page document which set out how it plans to get out of the lockdown and recover from the outbreak.
Steps include looking at “innovative operating models for the UK’s health and care settings” in order to “strengthen them for the long term and make them safer for patients and staff in a world where Covid-19 continues to be a risk”.
The roadmap adds: “This might include using more tele-medicine and remote monitoring to give patients hospital-level care from the comfort and safety of their own homes.”
On the subject of care homes, the roadmap states that the “NHS is supporting care homes to take up video consultation approaches, including options for a virtual ward”.
Plans for testing and tracing are also raised, with the document stating the programme aims to “ensure that, when someone develops Covid-19-like symptoms, they can rapidly have a test to find out if they have the virus – and people who they’ve had recent close contact with can be alerted and provided with advice”.
This includes the NHS Covid-19 app, which aims to “increase the speed and effectiveness of the tracing effort”.
The app uses Bluetooth technology to alert users if they have come into contact with someone experiencing coronavirus symptoms. Once a user inputs their symptoms into the app they receive medically validated advice on whether it’s likely to be Covid-19 and what they should do next.
The user can then opt to send all data the app has collected about devices it’s come into contact with to a central NHS database, which then uses an algorithm to determine which of these contacts needs to be sent an alert warning they’ve potentially been exposed to coronavirus.
The roadmap provides some insight into where the data collected from the test and trace programme will go.
“Information collected through the test and trace programme, together with wider data from sources such as 111 online, will form part of a core national Covid-19 dataset,” the document says.
“The creators of a number of independent apps and websites which have already launched to collect similar data have agreed to work openly with the NHS and have aligned their products and data as part of this central, national effort.”