• 15Mar

    Forthcoming NHS customer platform is ‘a state of mind’

    E Health Insider reports on an interview with John Coulthard, the NHS Commissioning Board’s director of customer relations, where he says that the ‘customer service platform’ being created by the NHS Commissioning Board will encourage the health service to think differently about the way it interacts with patients and potential users.

    He was often asked which services the platform would replace, or what kind of technology it would be built on. However, he said repeatedly it was “much more a state of mind” for “getting people to engage with their health and wellness.”

    Asked specifically about whether it would incorporate the current NHS Choices website and other familiar services such as NHS Direct and NHS Pathways, which underpins NHS 111, he said the question was “not relevant” as “that is not to think about state of mind but to think about stovepipes [for information].”

    Coulthard said the new service might take the information held in these different services – and possibly others – and expose it to different users in different ways. So, he suggested, a call-up of user reviews “might look like a dashboard of NHS quality”, while a map of local GP practices might help somebody choose the best family doctor for them – and an app holding the same information might provide directions from the street.

    The customer service platform is one of a number of ‘offers’ that the NHS CB outlined to the NHS in the planning guidance it issued last December. The project is being headed by Coulthard, who was formerly head of Microsoft’s UK healthcare team. Coulthard’s reports at the NHS CB are focused on values and standards, marketing, and customer choice.

    In his interview with EHI, he emphasised that the platform will grow out of this background; making services more “transparent” to users, marketing the NHS effectively to different groups; and engaging with “digital natives” and “change agents” who turn first to digital communications and challenge traditional ways of thinking.

    Practically, Coulthard said that the NHS CB will not be building a new website, or rebranding services such as NHS Choices. Instead, he indicated that it will commission additional tools, including apps, from a wide range of providers to support the “state of mind” that it will embody.

    Taken from E health insider. To read more go to: www.ehi.co.uk