The NHS 111 online service has seen record usage over the past four months, as more people used digital channels to access medical help or health advice during times of lockdown and social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 30 million users visited NHS 111 online between 26 February 2020 and 11 August 2020, reports NHS Digital. Over six million of these completed an online coronavirus assessment and received health advice based on the symptoms or travel history they reported.
At the peak of the crisis in mid-March, the service was used more than 950,000 times a day, 95 times higher than it normally would be.
During the pandemic, NHS 111 online has been updated continuously; more than 70 updates were issued to keep the service aligned with changing coronavirus symptoms and public health advice.
NHS 111 online has also played a key role in connecting the public to additional digital services related to coronavirus. People reporting symptoms on NHS 111 online can get an isolation note or sign up for text messages to support them in managing their illness at home.
Data from the NHS 111 online as well as NHS Pathways telephone calls has been made publicly available through a new dashboard. The dashboard works as a useful indicator for getting early warnings about potential local outbreaks, based on the volume of triages going through NHS Pathways.
Ben Davison, Director of Citizen Health Tech at NHS Digital, said: “These figures show how important the use of digital tools is in supplying vital health information to members of the public during this outbreak.”
NHS 111 online is available across England and can be accessed at 111.nhs.uk or via the NHS App.