New procurement framework for online consultations and video consultations

A new procurement route for online consultation and video consultation solutions via the Digital Care Services Catalogue has now been launched. This is available for commissioners to buy nationally assured online consultation and video consultation products for general practice. This new system has brought together the requirements for these systems into a single set of consistent requirements and standards. Online consultations and video consultations will be treated as separate capabilities and suppliers will be able to offer one or the other or both.

Procurement undertaken via the new framework will benefit from achieving greater consistency across digital solutions as well as improved clarity on the product(s) being offered by different suppliers. The framework also support better integration between GP clinical systems and online consolation and video consultation systems.

Online consultations rapid procurement in response to COVID-19

As part of the response to COVID-19, all practices were asked to move to a total triage mode to protect patients and staff from avoidable risks of infection. Total triage means that every patient contacting the practice is first triaged before deciding what steps need to be taken to support that patient. Total triage is important to reduce avoidable footfall into practices and protect patients and staff from the risks of infection. While total triage can be carried out entirely by telephone, this is less efficient than using an online consultation system to support the triage process. To support practices to move to total triage, a rapid procurement for online consultations was run nationally against the DPS for online consultation, enabling STPs and former CCGs to call off online consultation and video consultation solutions without the need for a mini competition.