When the Covid-19 pandemic kicked in, remote consultations with patients pretty much became the default option. But with the pandemic easing, patients are increasingly expecting both remote and face-to-face options.
But evaluating and choosing the right consultation method means asking yourself certain questions, including:
- Can a satisfactory relationship with the patient be built?
- Can the patient’s concerns be managed satisfactorily remotely? Would seeing the patient face-to-face change what I do?
- Can the information needed to form a diagnosis and/or inform decision making be gathered using this method?
- Can continuity for those that need it be enabled?
- Can a two-way dialogue with the patient be established and information be provided in a way the patient can understand? Switch to a different modality if the conversation isn’t going well or where needed, if it is hard to have a deeper discussion with the patient
- What is the patient’s preference in this clinical scenario, taking into consideration the patient’s level of confidence with the consultation format, ability to communicate using this method (and to do so confidentially) and access to the technology? What reasonable adjustments can I make to support patients?
- Does the patient require an examination and, if so, can I examine the patient using this method? Take into consideration the nature of the examination, whether the patient feels comfortable with a remote assessment (including concerns about security and privacy), limitations of a remote assessment and image quality
- Am I concerned that the patient is unable to make a decision freely because they are under pressure from others?
- Are there concerns about the patient’s safety, capacity or safeguarding? Does the patient have a safe and confidential place to access care remotely? (For example, consider the possibility of domestic abuse).
- Has the patient consulted about the same problem repeatedly remotely? Are their needs being met using this method? Can continuity of care be enabled?
- Are there steps I can arrange remotely before I have a face-to-face consultation e.g. blood tests, x-ray? (co-ordinating care so as much as possible is done in a single face-to-face consultation)
- Am I confident in using this technology to deliver a remote consultation? Do I need any training or support?
- Are there any other considerations, such as medico-legal, which may make a face-to-face consultation the preferred method?
Are you offering your patients remote consultations?
If you could do with extra support in facilitating online consultations, why not sign up for PDUK’s Remote Consultation for Primary Care Practitioners course. Offered via Zoom, it’s a great opportunity to gain an important 16 hours of CPD over two days whilst working remotely.
This convenient and engaging course is aimed specifically at any community health care professional that is relatively new to conducting virtual consultations either on the telephone or video. It looks at how to deal with the risks, as well as exploring common patient presentations and competent practice. Furthermore, you’ll get the chance tojoin in with interactive group activities and ask any questions along the way.
This is a course that books up quickly so make sure you secure your place quickly!