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Near Me video appointments: simple, customer-centric and now free to housing providers

By Geraldine Begg, Technology Enabled Care in Housing (TECH) Lead 

Posted In

Covid-19 has made meeting in person with tenants incredibly difficult.  

Video calling has been identified across multiple industries as a solution to meeting virtually.  

There are several factors to consider with introducing a new feature to your service offering: 

  • Which platform to use 
  • Security 
  • Costs 
  • Will it be user-friendly for tenants and customers?  
  • Will it be easy to integrate into general service delivery?  

When health professionals considered introducing video appointments as another way for patients to access their services, they had to take these factors into account.  

Over the past few years, the Tec programme has supported health professionals in developing an appropriate video calling service.  

It’s called Near Me – in fact, maybe some of you have already used it. In the last week of January alone, over 17,000 appointments took place via Near Me across NHS Scotland. 

Near Me is now available to all social landlords, both local authority and housing associations, regardless of the organisation’s size. A public services license has been secured, and as such, there will be no license costs to housing providers until at least 2023. You can use it to support the delivery of any of your services, such as welfare benefits advice, care reviews, viewing/assessing reported repairs etc.  
Not everyone has access to a device, and not all appointments will be appropriate for a video appointment, but this is an excellent opportunity to test out a video-based appointment system and to see what your tenants and your staff think before deciding if it’s something that you want to expand into more of your services. 
The recent public evaluation of Near Me in health settings revealed that 87% of the public and 94% of clinicians thought video consulting should be used for health and care appointments where appropriate to do so. The main benefits identified were that it improved access and convenience and reduced the risk of infection.  

Register for our free webinar: 

Wednesday 10 February, 14:00 to 15:15. 

SFHA is hosting a webinar with the Scottish Government Near Me team.  

The session is free and is open to anyone working in Social Housing.  

Visit SFHA Live! for more information and to register for the session. 

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