1. If I prefer to have a video consultation how do I request one?
The first step is to discuss this with your clinician. Individual clinicians and multidisciplinary teams are best placed to determine how to support you, based on your own wishes, circumstances and needs, as well clinical expertise, judgement and assessment of risk.
2. What are the benefits to clinicians, and to the Trust, to use digital technology?
Promoting video appointments is about giving you greater choice about how to receive treatment. We want to work with people in a way that suits and best supports them at their point of need. Face-to-face appointments are necessary in many circumstances but sometimes the flexibility offered by video appointment will be the right next step.
Our priority is to provide safe and effective care to our patients whatever form that takes. Video appointments are an additional option to face-to-face appointments but only if you wish to have an appointment in this way. Some people prefer to have a video call to avoid any anxiety they feel when attending appointments in person. It might be more convenient for people to meet in this way and it can save time and money in reduced transport costs or costs for carers to accompany you to an appointment. The first step is to discuss your options with your practitioner and you can agree together the most appropriate type of appointment.
For our clinicians, it can mean they have greater capacity to see more patients in the space of a day as not all appointments will require travel or room bookings, which can be very hard to secure in buildings with limited space. It can also mean that when a specialist is needed to attend a meeting they can join quickly and easily and if necessary, just for the part of the appointment relevant to them.
We know that for some people, the support of family and friend carers is a key part of recovery and the flexibility offered by video appointments can make it easier for family and friends to attend appointments as part of the patient’s overall support.
An increased use of digital technology is part of the NHS Long Term Plan to provide faster, safer and more convenient care. Offering patients the choice of support via video appointments is just one strand of this. With the development of new apps, some of which our own Research Team are involved in developing like the SlowMo app, we want to continue to embrace what digital technology can offer.
Across our services clinicians are using video appointments to meet with other clinicians in different services to ensure smoother admissions and discharges which has a direct benefit to patient care and continuity of care.
3. How do I know if I have the right technology?
You can take part in video appointments using a computer (windows or mac), android based smartphones, tablets, an iPhone or iPad. A detailed trouble-shooting guide is available for Attend Anywhere calls but the principles also apply to video calls using Zoom, Microsoft Teams or any other remote video software.
4. What data security is in place?
We take data security and confidentiality extremely seriously and your clinician will do all they can to ensure the session is secure. Threats to security could either be physical (e.g. being overheard by others) or electronic security. Trust computers have security protection systems installed and our staff follow Trust policies that cover data protection and information security.
Your clinician will provide you with information about how your personal or confidential patient information is used during a video consultation.
The following will help to protect your confidentiality:
- Make sure that you have a safe, quiet, confidential place that is free from interruptions for your consultation
- If another person is present in the room, you should consider making your practitioner aware, particularly if the other person remains quiet or is not visible to the health and care professional. This helps your clinician avoid inadvertently breaking confidentiality
- Your practitioner will always inform you if anyone else is in the room with them and ask if you are comfortable with this, for example, if they have a student working with them
- You may be asked to confirm your details, for example, name and date of birth to ensure you are the right patient or service user.
The video appointment is held with your agreement, so if at any point before or during the appointment you do not want to continue, you can do so. Please discuss any concerns you have with your clinician.
5. Can I bring relatives/friends/carers to a video call?
Yes, this can be in the same room as you or if you would like to, you are welcome to invite them to join the call.