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As more areas of the UK go into varying stages of COVID-19 restrictions we are being asked more and more to see patients remotely (via video feed) rather than face to face. This allows patients to access the medical care they need, but without the need to leave home.
Before 2020 this was a relatively unusual occurrence, used mainly for those travelling abroad, whereas now we are all becoming experts in this new way of working.
In this blog Dr Natasha Beach will answer the questions we commonly get asked on remote consultations.
What is a remote consultation?
This is where the consultation is done via phone/tablet/computer rather than you coming into OneWelbeck to be seen face to face.
How do I book an appointment?
This is done in the usual way – by contacting the secretary of the consultant directly or by contacting OneWelbeck on bookings.digestivesurgery@OneWelbeck.com
How does the process work?
Once you have an appointment date and time, you will be sent a link by text message or email. At the time of your appointment click the link and you will be able to see and hear your consultant using your phone, tablet or computer.
It is worth trialling the link in advance of the consultation to check that you don’t need to download any software in order for the call to work.
Are they recognised by insurance companies?
Yes, they should be – all major insurance companies recognise the need for remote consultations at this time however its always worth checking with them that it is covered.
What about self-pay options?
Remote consultations are available to everyone, even those self-funding.
What do I need to wear for the consultation?
You can wear normal clothes as your consultant won’t ask to look at any specific area on the body – the consultation is mainly to talk through any symptoms you may be experiencing and to discuss treatment options.
Where is it best to do a remote consultation?
Try and pick a quiet space to reduce background noise and to give yourself some privacy. Your consultant may ask you to move around so having some room to do so would be helpful.
Is it possible to have a mix of face to face and remote consultations?
Yes absolutely. Face to face consultations are still continuing so remain an option for you at any point.
What happens if the consultant recommends any investigations eg MRI, blood tests etc?
The joy of remote consultations is that we can see patients from anywhere around the UK without the need for travel. Equally we can refer patients to any private hospital (insurance provider permitting) for tests and investigations if needed. Just because your consultant is in central London, doesn’t mean you need to travel there.
Once you have had your tests, the results will be sent to the consultant who can then go through them remotely (or face to face) with you.
Are there any disadvantages to remote consultations?
Remote will never be a like for like substitute to normal consultations as there are limitations to how much of an examination that can be performed. However, all consultants have been doing this for many months now and have developed their own ways to get the most out of the consultation so this should not be a reason to discount remote as an option for you.
Top 5 tips to getting the most out of your remote consultation
- Test the computer link before hand
- Check your camera is on and that you are not on mute
- Turn the lights on so we can see you more clearly
- Come dressed so we can see the relevant body part without you needing to get changed
- Pick somewhere quiet with space to move around in.