Due to variables such as practice demographics or patient and clinician preference there are not a set of definitive attributes that if satisfied will lead to a productive and valuable video consultation. Instead, this will be achieved through experience gained from consistent use, supported by staff training, leading to increased confidence.
Key check points where video may be suitable are summarised below:
- Establish the reason for the consultation before scheduling, this would help to mitigate the risk that video would not be suitable and a face to face appointment would then be required resulting in a delay to delivery of care.
- The condition or reason for the consultation is not considered to be potentially serious or high risk.
- It is reasonable to expect that a physical examination or clinical measurement will not be required as part of the consultation.
- Poor outcomes or prognosis are not expected.
- The condition is considered to be routine or low risk.
- The patient has competence to consent to a video consultation and confirmed their willingness to participate.
- Using video consultation would provide a benefit to either patient or practice.
Practices may opt to schedule dedicated virtual clinics where appointment slots are allocated for video consultations or instead use the video functionality on a more ad-hoc basis to enhance consultations that commence as telephone consultations but where being able to observe the patient or to provide further reassurance would be useful. To realise potential benefits offered by video consultations practices should assess their readiness to adopt a combination of each approach.