We are starting to introduce some video consultations to our types of available appointments. We will only have a few to start whilst we work through the inevitable teething problems of introducing a new technology, but will look to expand to more appointments and doctors in time. We anticipate that video calls will be helpful for people who struggle to get in to the surgery due to mobility or transport problems, or perhaps those who need to speak to the doctor about a non-urgent matter and don't want to take hours out of work to travel to & from the surgery for their appointment - instead just taking the 10 minutes out they need for their video call.
The software providers have a help page with more detail about setting up and joining a video consultation, but we've given a few Top Tips for you below...
- Consider sending an eConsult before your appointment - this way you can submit lots of information about your condition and symptoms ahead of the video call. This means both you and the doctor can make the most of the call time, as the doctor will have chance to review your notes before the call.
- For obvious reasons, please don't book a video call if your problem is going to need the doctor to physically examine you - for example joint problems, rashes etc. If you do, the doctor is likely to ask you book an appointment in person, and having waited for your video call, you will then have to wait again for a face to face appointment. If you're not sure whether you'll need examining, send an eConsult about it first, and we'll let you know.
- At present the service is only possible through Patient Access - either through website log-in (Chrome browser preferred) or the mobile app. It's free to use, but you will need to set it up in advance with a linkage key obtained from reception. See our online access page for more information.
- Make sure you have a fast enough connection - a good 4G signal on mobile, or strong Wi-Fi connection to fast broadband. The call either won't connect or will drop out if the connection isn't strong enough.
- Think about your lighting - if you have a window or light behind you making the background is too bright, the camera will try and balance the exposure by making the whole image darker - meaning you may be barely visible. Make sure the light is in front of you, lighting your face. In general a room that's brightly lit is best - sit by a window in the daytime or make sure you've turned all the lights on if it's dark outside.
- Consider using earphones with a built in microphone - not only for privacy if other people are around, but it will greatly enhance the audio quality for both you and the doctor