The first phase of TEC Cymru evidence demonstrates that video consulting is consistently high in satisfaction, clinical suitability and acceptability across a wide range of patient demographics and clinical specialities in Wales. The early data from patients and clinicians suggests that video consulting in Wales is here to stay.

Doctor & mobile

The first phase of the NHS Wales Video Consulting (VC) Service Evaluation  has now been published, based upon data gathered between March and August 2020.

Based upon 10,000 survey responses from patients and professionals, and more than 300 interviews the Research and Evaluation team at TEC Cymru have been able to use this national dataset to understand how video consultation has supported the NHS during the COVID Pandemic.

The evaluation is comprised of six chapters and a literature review. The data is split up into an All-Wales section, and then by Health Board and care sector. Based upon Survey data, it captures measures around the ‘use and value’ of VC for example, satisfaction, clinical suitability and acceptability.

Key Points:

  • Very high in patient and clinician satisfaction (slightly higher in patients).
  • Clinically suitable across a wide range of specialities, care sectors and Health Boards.
  • High acceptability of VC, which is believed to be associated to the ‘Welsh Way’ of digital implementation processes.
  • Consistent data patterns across patient demographics (age, gender, urban/rural location).
  • Consistent data patterns across clinical settings and Health Boards.
  • Large appetite for VC in Wales, with high potential of sustainability and long-term use beyond COVID-19.

Professor Alka Ahuja, TEC Cymru’s National Clinical Lead states that…

“The evaluation has enabled us to gather evidence for the use and benefits of video consulting in healthcare. It has captured areas of good and innovative practice and enabled us to improvise the service as we have moved on. We know that the NHS post COVID will never be the same. Our ongoing evaluation and research will enable us to gather further evidence to embed good clinical practice and make video consulting a sustainable model of healthcare delivery.”

The Evaluation Approach

Unlike many traditional methods of evaluation, undertaken after pilot implementations with small and often highly selected samples, the team led by Research & Evaluation Lead Gemma Johns,   initiated the research in March 20 at the start of the rollout across NHS Wales.

Using a robust mixed methodology of surveys and interviews with patients, families and professionals, the evaluation of the NHS Wales Video Consulting (VC) Service is divided into phases for all data design and collection, analysis, and dissemination purposes.  The real-time quality improvement approach was invaluable to the team as findings would continually inform the approach and direction.

Welsh Government and TEC Cymru are keen for the use of VC to be captured on a national level over a long period of time (3 years minimum), to ensure that Welsh research is consistent and interpreted nationally, and therefore publishable, thus allowing Wales to become VC leaders and form a strong evidence-base.

It is split up into 7 sections, to include:

  • Literature Review
  • Chapter 1: Phase 1 ‘live’ data of end VC (using Attend Anywhere) satisfaction from patients & professionals
  • Chapter 2: End of phase 1 ‘retrospective’ data from professionals in Wales using all VC platforms
  • Chapter 3: Technological problems
  • Chapter 4: Palliative Care & ICU
  • Chapter 5: NHS VC AA Training Feedback
  • Chapter 6: Care Home Interviews – All Wales, All VC Platforms

All reports and a range of associated publications can be found here 

What next?

Phase 2 of evaluation is well underway, with over 15,000 survey responses already. It captures measures around ‘benefits, challenges and sustainability’ of VC. Data will be captured between September 2020 and February 2021.

Phase 1 & 2 interviews are continuous across both phases and capturing measures of ‘use and value’ and ‘benefits, challenges and sustainability’ of VC, and therefore this data will be analysed and published at the end of Phase 2 (March 2021).

In Phase 3, TEC Cymru would like to capture measures around ‘efficacy’ and ‘effectiveness’ of VC. The measure of efficacy would be defined by the performance of VC. The measure of effectiveness would be defined as the performance of VC under ‘real life’ conditions. Both of which require intense monitoring under ‘ideal’ and ‘controlled’ conditions – which are currently out of reach (due to COVID restrictions), and therefore would be the ideal long-term evaluation plan.

Would you like to collaborate on a research paper?

TEC Cymru are keen to support research and evaluate the implementation of VC with specific Health Boards and service areas, If you interested in collaborating in the creation of new research studies, feel free to contact either Gemma.Johns3@wales.nhs.uk or Alka.Ahuja@wales.nhs.uk