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Delivering the UK’s Covid-19 home testing service

Close up of lab assistant with swab and tube in hands

Client: NHSx

Building a Covid-19 home test ordering service in just eight days, helping key workers to return to work faster.

Challenge

At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, 40% of frontline staff in NHS organisations were in isolation with unconfirmed Covid-19 symptoms. 

NHSX challenged us to deliver a home test ordering service incredibly quickly — from scratch, and fully remotely. The aim was to ensure the safety of key workers and enable those in isolation to return to work faster following negative Covid-19 test results. 

Solution

Our delivery team was deployed into a vast programme of work made up of people from different suppliers and departments. We worked quickly and, within a day, set the project’s goals and KPIs, identified the role and skill sets of everyone involved in the programme and designed end to end user journeys and blueprints for the home testing service.

Aligning everyone with what we wanted to achieve was incredibly important for us to work quickly and effectively. Over seven days we led a multidisciplinary team of different suppliers, to take the idea from infancy to implementation and deliver home testing kits for NHS organisations and key workers. 

We then evaluated the service, conducting diary studies with London Ambulance Service Staff to understand their end to end experience.

From there we implemented service analytics, collecting service performance and user behaviour data, and iterated the service from quantitative and qualitative data sources including surveys, user testing, service data, and contact centre logs.

We also set up a dedicated Assisted Digital contact centre, supporting users with accessibility needs.

Home test ordering screen shot
Home test ordering service on GOV.uk

Impact

We achieved the target outcome for the project in just eight days, and publicly launched the home testing service for key workers in one month. Thanks to the success of this work, NHS staff were able to test themselves for Covid-19, with 67% of key workers returning to the front line faster.

After launching the service for NHS key workers, we then adapted and scaled home testing for all UK citizens in two weeks. Three months after the service went live, it had successfully distributed 1 million home test kits across the UK, helping everyone to stop the spread of the virus.

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