Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Virtual Healthcare Appointment

3 September 2020 3:27pm

Tips to help patients get the most out of virtual healthcare appointments are being shared by local health bosses at Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

The top tips are part of the findings of a joint research study undertaken by Healthwatch England, National Voices and Traverse, which asked people about their experience of remote consultations during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

The results have been published in a report entitled ‘The Doctor will Zoom you now – getting the most out of the virtual health and care experience’.

The aim of the research was to understand the patient experience of remote and virtual consultations which were introduced to prevent patients and staff from being put at risk from coronavirus.

Remote consultations take the form of telephone, video or text-based communication with GP, hospital outpatient, follow-up and mental health consultations.

Top tips from the research include:

  • Ask for a timeslot for when your remote consultation will take place

  • Let your health care provider know how you prefer to talk by phone, video or in person

  • Find somewhere quiet and confidential. If this isn’t possible or is tricky, make this clear when you make your appointment.

  • If you’re not comfortable with video technology, start with a phone call

  • Take some time to prepare in advance. Consider what you want to say and any key questions you would like to ask.

  • At the end of the appointment, ask your health care provider to summarise the next steps

  • Remote consultations can be useful for routine appointments or ongoing care with a health care practitioner

  • Not all appointments are suitable for remote consultations. Say, if you would like to see someone in person.

Dr Julian Povey, Joint Chair of Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin CCGs, said: “Face-to-face appointments with your GP are still available for those who need them.

“GP practices are providing a variety of different appointments to meet the needs of patients. Virtual health care appointments, such as by phone or video, have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic and are one of the many ways the NHS has adapted whilst continuing to looking after patients safely.”

For more information about the study visit the Healthwatch website.