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Broadcast Message to help the NHS with Covid-19

Topics: Building a solution

In an effort to limit the strain on services brought about by the spread of COVID-19, the NHS has been incredibly proactive in making the brave decision to cancel huge volumes of non-essential appointments. This means, where appropriate, a shift away from the traditional model of face-to-face appointments, toward digital means such as video conferencing and telephone appointments.  

Of course, these measures don't deliver on the long-term sustainability of modern healthcare services, and if everyone is honest nobody has really figured out how to make remote consultations work in the varied and complex settings within health care.  

We're going to have to figure this is out fast! 

In the meantime, since Thursday last week we've been inundated with requests from hospitals to communicate with patients as part of their COVID-19 response and planning.  

From cancelling 100s of thousands of non-urgent appointments at 3 am on a Sunday morning to reassuring people that their care will continue on an ongoing basis but now via phone. The team have been working round the clock to support the NHS with it's monumental responsibilities to the nation's health.  

Working in a hospital right now is incredibly challenging, with phones ringing off the hook and decisions being made at all hours needing to be enacted rapidly within a rapidly evolving situation.  

This pace of change puts incredible strain on hospital staff like the (often forgotten) call handlers and management teams and of course the patients who may not know what's happening next.  

People are understandably concerned, and in dire need of good communication. 

We feel privileged to see how dedicated everyone is to helping people no matter the pressure. Given we are already actively engaging with over 6 million people across 19 Trusts about routine parts of their care we found ourselves asking what we could do to help.  

Our partner Trusts have expressed a desire to be able to quickly and effectively communicate with their patients at scale. Both to inform patients where services have changed but also to warn away patients displaying symptoms of COVID-19, to minimise the spread within hospital environments. The first step in responding to this crisis is to create an accurate, up-to-date, line of communication between hospitals and the general population.  

Broadcast Messaging allows hospitals to quickly and effectively communicate information at scale, through bulk-messaging important information to large volumes of their patient population. Helping to keep patients informed and reassured in this time of stress and uncertainty.  

We are iterating this tool rapidly to include capabilities to help hospitals dynamically message at scale for numerous target groups. 

We hope it helps - if you are working in a hospital right now, please let us know how you get on with it and what we can do to make it better.