Digital Outreach Team (DOTs)

Sharing their learning and supporting a consistent message countywide

Digital Outreach Team (DOTs)

The Digital Outreach Team members (DOTs) are employed by NHS Somerset following a successful pilot across three Taunton Primary Care Networks (PCNs). Since then, with our support, other DOTs have been employed directly by other PCNs in Somerset too.

The role of the DOTs in PCNs are to:

  • Support culture change for GP practices to think more digitally – “Digital First”
  • Educate staff and patients on and support use of digital tools and equipment
  • Help improve local information sharing and digital literacy
  • Link together to share resources and learning (joining the DOTs)
NHS Staff greeting residents at the Digital App Events.
woman at a laptop on a video call
Picture of table with NHS table cloth on it and balloons with 75 on them

This work is transformational and supports new ways of working, particularly important when COVID social distancing rules changed the way the public interact with health services.

DOTs engage with all practice staff, including clinicians, wherever possible and support practice staff with surfacing relevant patient information and practice services through digital tools (e.g. enabling appointment booking and providing access to parts of the patient record stored in EMIS via the NHS App).

Their work includes the following:

  • Promote and support of the use of online and video consultation tools
  • Create and collate responses to patient satisfaction surveys on digital tools used
  • Support creation of, and training on using social media to promote the practice digital tools and services
  • Stimulate use of the NHS app by staff and patients for accessing practice services
  • Boost use of apps like MyDiabetesMyWay
  • Help patients who inform the practice that they are struggling with a digital tool (e.g. trying but failing to register on the NHS App) and talking patients through these tools, step by step
  • Create “How To” videos and podcasts for patients
  • Help with promotion of Electronic Repeat Dispensing
  • Set up Virtual Group Consultations
  • Share learning and resources across the PCN to help provide a standardised experience for patients
  • Work with practices to identify opportunities to transform paper based services into digital services, and connect with the related providers (e.g. change incoming paper correspondence from outpatient services to electronic methods)

Their work within a PCN can encourage an increase in NHS app registrations; a rise in patient online access; a reduction in calls to the surgeries; a growth in patients booking and managing their own GP appointments; more repeat prescriptions and sick notes being requested digitally; an improvement in patient satisfaction and a surge in patient endorsements.”

We have extended the successful DOTs network to social care to strengthen digital links and promote Integrated Care System (ICS) working between health and social care providers. Their overall aim is to work with CQC Adult Social Care providers, Somerset Council and the Registered Care Providers Association across Somerset to:

  • Support culture change for social care homes to think more digitally
  • Educate staff and residents on and support use of digital tools and equipment
  • Support the adoption of digital social care records and falls sensory technology
  • Help improve local information sharing and digital literacy
  • Support use of NHS Digital endorsed apps for physical and mental health and well-being of staff
  • Support online and video consultations with GP surgeries
  • Training on NHS Mail & Microsoft Teams and support (including cyber security)
  • Support use of proxy access for residents, allowing repeat prescription ordering

Share learning and resources across the system – identify ‘digital champions’ to network and promote tools such as the Digital Social Care website.