Using people's experiences, Healthwatch England have created top tips for both patients and health and care professionals on how to get the most out of digital consultations.
Top tips for patients
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 and, if this isn’t possible or is tricky, make this clear when you are making your appointment.
- Start with a phone call if you’re not confident with video technology.
- Ask for help if you need it and, if possible, do a practice run with a friend.
- Take some time to prepare in advance - consider what you want to say and key questions you would like to ask.
- Ask your health care provider to summarise the next steps at the end of the appointment.
- Remote consultations can be useful for routine appointments or ongoing care with a health care practitioner.
- Not all appointments are suitable for remote consultations, if you would like to see someone in-person please say so.
Top tips for health and care professionals:
Provide a precise time window for appointments.
- Check that the person is in a confidential and safe place to have the phone or video call.
- Understand the person’s level of confidence using technology and give people a choice of how to communicate.
- Proactively check what the patient needs, clarify what is happening next and who is responsible for the next stages of care.
- Slow down the pace of the consultation, demonstrate active listening.
- Use the chat function in video calls to make the appointment more interactive, share links to information or summarise next steps.
- Don’t ask people to provide information you already have access to.
- Give guidance about how the appointment will work, offer demonstrations, provide an opportunity for a test run/provide some training.
- Seek feedback about peoples’ experiences and use this to improve the service.
Find out more about people's experiences
Read the findings from Healthwatch England's report that looked into people's experience of virtual consultations as they rapidly increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic