After transforming its services in response to the coronavirus outbreak, including converting thousands of face-to-face appointments to virtual ones, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust has now introduced Attend Anywhere, offering patients online appointments.
This NHS-wide initiative allows clinicians to conduct video link consultations with their patients. Patients and their doctor can see each other via the video link, allowing their range of movement to identify sources of pain to be seen, and other visual examinations to take place. Sharing documents is simple too; clinicians can share their screen, showing x-rays or other necessary documentation.
Video consultations are also easy to use and more convenient for patients – saving them needing to travel to hospital for their appointment.
Attend Anywhere is a secure web-based platform which can be used on any PC, Mac, or iOS/ Android device (such as smartphones/iPads or tablets). To have an online appointment, patients just need to ensure they have a web camera, speakers and microphone, which are usually built into laptops and mobile devices.
Appointments are scheduled as normal and patients receive a letter confirming the date and time, which also includes a web link for the virtual appointment.
Several of the Trust’s specialties are already offering this to patients, including; hand therapies, general surgery, paediatrics, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, and pain management, with more due to be offering it soon.
This type of appointment may not be suitable for everyone, that decision will be made by the clinician, based on each patient’s individual needs.
Magda Smith, the trust’s chief medical officer, said: “Before this pandemic, our outpatient appointments were operating in a way which hadn’t changed for decades. Covid-19 meant this had to change, and quickly.
“In April and May more than 13,000 appointments were held over the phone, which was really well received by our patients. Offering online appointments via Attend Anywhere is the next stage as we continue to transform our services and the way we work. I’m delighted that we’re now offering this to our patients.”
Find out more about how Attend Anywhere works, and watch a short information video, on the Trust’s website: https://www.bhrhospitals.nhs.uk/online-appointments