What is a Video Consultation?
A video consultation is a doctor’s or healthcare professional appointment that takes place using your own mobile phone or laptop that has a microphone, speaker, and video capability.
Why should I consider a Video Consultation?
Meeting with your healthcare team is a crucial part of your care. Current social distancing requirements and extra precautions to reduce the spread of COIVD-19 means that as your healthcare team, we need to connect with you in ways other than a traditional face-to-face clinic appointment.
You can ‘attend’ a video consultation through your audio-video enabled device from a location of your choice without too much interference to your daily routine. This method will also allow us to offer you more frequent reviews, if required.
Attending the clinic frequently can be challenging and may interfere with other aspects of your life, like work and study. Taking time off work, school or university can be difficult logistically.
Okay. I am interested. What do I need to consider?
If you are interested in participating in a video consultation you will need:
- A mobile telephone number
- To be able to access a device that has microphone, speaker, and video capability e.g., a smartphone, laptop, or tablet. If you are unsure, you can always ask a friend or family member to help you with this
- A stable internet connection
Will this mean I do not have to physically attend my routine hospital appointments?
Your doctor or healthcare team will assess if your consultation can be arranged through video or if a face-to-face appointment is necessary. Your preference will also be considered when choosing between the options.
You will continue to attend your hospital appointments and/or your family practice treatment room sometimes. Measurements like weight, height, blood pressure checks, and blood sampling cannot be undertaken as part of a video consultation.
Video appointments will complement the hospital appointments, but not replace them completely. It may be possible however to reduce the time between physical clinic visits.
I am interested but concerned about the security risk involved in a video consultation.
Video consultations take place over the Internet. The most familiar web-based systems are Skype and Zoom. The video consultation facility we use is provided by HSL, a firm specialising in web-based solutions for remote consultations. They have strict digital security rules and have a contract to supply secure connections with the Western Trust.
The connection is much more secure than a standard Skype or Zoom call. The consultation will take place through the Western Trust network and will meet our Information Governance standards. However, it is important to acknowledge that no conversation over the internet is 100 % secure.
Data security for your device is up to you. This can be helped by avoiding 3G/4G or public/open Wi-Fi networks. You may wish to consider using a device connected via a password protected Wi-Fi network.
Will this affect confidentiality?
All your clinic contacts will be confidential. The healthcare professional you meet on video will ensure that the clinic is conducted confidentially just as any other clinic. The clinic will be hosted from a room where the conversation cannot be overheard, or the screen overlooked. The doctor or nurse will continue to use WHSCT approved systems to access and update your clinical records. This will be like your routine hospital clinic visit.
No recording of the audio or visual part of the consultation will be made or stored. Please ensure that you maintain your own privacy. Consider using a quiet room/space where you cannot be easily overheard and are unlikely to be interrupted.