Figures have revealed that NHS digital services have experienced a surge in usage throughout 2020 as people looked to access healthcare remotely. 

Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak tech services provided by NHS Digital have seen unprecedented levels of usage by both patients and frontline staff.

Data from NHS Digital revealed on 11 December 2019, there were 192,676 people using the NHS App but fast forward to 13 December 2020 and this figure had increased by 912% to 1,951,640 users.

The picture was similar for NHS 111 online – a service which allows patients to get urgent healthcare online.

In the last six months from June to November 2020, 111 online recorded 3,569,917 sessions, which is a 257% increase on the same period in 2019 when there were 999,150 recorded sessions.

Also, 860,213 of all sessions during June to November 2020 were coronavirus related.

The last year has also seen a rise in the use of Microsoft Teams, after it was made available to NHS organisations for free in March 2020 (for a limited time period) to counter the increased risks associated with coronavirus.

NHS Digital finished rolling out the messaging tool to all NHSmail users in late March and between 23 March and 13 December, it has been used to send 108,811,363 chat messages and to host 24,288,376 meetings.

Ben Davison NHS Digital’s executive director for product development, said: “There’s no doubting that 2020 has been a challenging year for the NHS. Our teams have had to work harder and faster than ever to cope with the huge public demand for the many digital technologies across the NHS.

“It’s this technology that has enabled doctors, nurses and other health professionals to deliver care remotely where possible – freeing up time for those patients who need face-to-face care.

“It’s this technology that is keeping people well while they isolate with good information and advice, and the ability to manage things like prescriptions remotely.

“We’re fully expecting the numbers using NHS tech to continue rising in 2021, as the general public continues to play a key role in helping to ease the burden on our fantastic frontline services.”