‘Virtual Clinic’ is a term that has been thrown around in healthcare discussions for a while now, but are Virtual Clinics actually being used within the NHS? In short, yes, they are. Virtual Clinics by medio.link are already used by many innovative NHS trusts in a number of different ways.
A North East of England NHS Trust have deployed Virtual Clinics in their Radiology Department, to reduce travel for patients and reduce DNA’s for what may be just a five-minute check-up. The clinic has a large catchment area from London up to the North East, and would normally pay transport costs for the patient. Virtual Clinics have given the trust an instant ROI by eliminating these transport requirements, whilst not just preventing unnecessary journeys for the patient, also saves the trust the travel costs. Virtual Clinics have been well received by the hospital, who are looking to expand the service across the trust in the very near future.
Two NHS trusts are currently utilising medio.link’s Virtual Clinics within their mental health services by offering assessments over video. Patients may sometimes travel long distances for such assessments, especially when a specialist’s participation is required; the travel can be extremely stressful for the patient. Using Virtual Clinics, these trusts can reduce travel for the patient thereby create a much more positive patient experience.
Virtual Clinics are currently being used in the audiology department of a trust based in the Midlands, to help cut down busy clinic lists by holding appointments over video. They are also looking to expand the consultations via video, as the therapies department are about to start holding outpatient appointments using Virtual Clinics. The potential use of Virtual Clinics has also led to the trust conducting a study into the effects of video consultations with cancer patients.
The number of joint replacement procedures continues to rise year on year, due to high success rates and impressive outcomes. During the financial year 2016/2017, just under 243,000 joint replacements were carried out, up 20,000 on the previous year, as reported by NHS England.
National guidelines require joint replacements to be monitored at regular intervals, usually every 5 years after an initial 1-year check-up. The Health Foundation reports that 90-95% of successful joint replacements will still be doing well after 10 years, so the patients will be having to visit the hospital simply to tell the surgeon they’re doing well.
Implementing a Virtual Clinic as an alternative to a face-to-face follow up appointment will eliminate the need for patient to travel and allow the clinician to see more patients in a shorter space of time, therefore increasing efficiencies.
Many CCGs across the UK are looking at utilising medio.link’s Virtual Clinics as a platform for GPs to hold consultations using video. As part of the General Practice Forward View, NHS England have announced that they want GPs to provide online consultations to improve efficiency, increase access to GPs, especially for working members of the public, and to reduce stress on the primary care system.
Virtual clinics can be the solution for many needs within the NHS, and are already being used in a variety of ways to improve patient care, increase efficiencies and give a palpable ROI for the NHS. Contact us for further information on our virtual clinic.