Since March 2020, over a quarter of a million video consultations have taken place between patients and clinicians in Wales.
Welsh Government, in partnership with Technology Enabled Care (TEC) Cymru and partners, have successfully delivered the accelerated national roll-out of the NHS Wales Video Consulting (VC) Service using a product called Attend Anywhere, as part of Welsh Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The VC Service aimed to offer healthcare services a safe and secure way to see patients via a video appointment. It meant that healthcare professionals across Wales could continue to easily communicate with patients at home, safeguarding frontline staff and reducing risk of further transmission in the wake of the pandemic.
Based on 22,978 clinician and patient surveys, and 178 clinician and patient semi-structured interviews, the benefits of the VC Service show:
- Very high ratings in patient and clinician satisfaction with 92.4% and 71.9% (respectively) rating the ‘quality’ between ‘Excellent, Very Good or Good’;
- In general, the level of uptake is representative of the Welsh general population across patient demographics such as age, gender, household income, and urban/rural location;
- The benefits of using NVCS for patients rated either ‘very beneficial’ or ‘beneficial’ included ‘saved travel and parking’ (92%); ‘saving the environment’ (91.1%); ‘saved time and preparation’ (87.3%); not ‘having to take time off work/school’ (81%); ‘improved convenience’ (87.6%); ‘improved access to care’ (85.5%).
- Clinicians identified benefits such as ‘more efficient use of their clinical time/space’ (74.8%), ‘increased access to care’ (72%), ‘reduced waiting times’ (68.6%) and ‘reduced Did Not Attend rates’ (61.1%), and ‘improved family involvement for the patient’ (59.9%).
Eluned Morgan, Welsh Government Minister for Health & Social Services said:
“As we look to the longer term solution around video consultation in our Health Service, we are exploring options for the sustainable use of video appointments, and how we can add value within primary and secondary care settings - and potentially wider uses. We acknowledge that video consultation is not for everyone, but the clear potential of the benefits provided by this service highlights how it can complement other options available to patients, such as telephone and face-to-face appointments - ensuring optimal patient care for people in Wales.
Digital technologies have played a critical and very successful role in our response to COVID-19, allowing many Welsh citizens to continue to access medical advice and assistance in a safe environment, reducing the risk for both patients and our dedicated health and care professionals to increased risk of transmitting the virus. The current all-Wales video consultation service continues to be a key part of delivering health and social care in Wales, and we will look to maintain digital technologies in a complementary and inclusive way as a part of our pandemic recovery, and beyond.”
Are you interested in utilising video consulting in your service? Get in touch with your VC Project Team to discuss how VC can work for you. Alternatively get in touch with TEC Cymru.