Covid 19: Making remote consultations work for patients

I came across this interesting insight from BMJ Blogs about the doctors mentioning about their user experience. There is an implicit assumption that everyone’s on the same technological platform. Most users have no clue about email or they aren’t adept at pushing buttons. Even if they have a good broadband connection, there is an implicit digital divide.

I have emphasised certain issues here:

Once the appointment has been secured, without careful consideration there is a chance that virtual processes can replicate the worst elements of in-person appointments.

By telephone, patients are unable to read the body language of the doctor. Are they tired or feeling frustrated? Is this to do with you, or the current crisis?

A poor virtual experience can be unsettling. A difficult consultation can be made even more so if you have not met your clinician “in real life” before.

New referrals can be fraught for patients at the best of times but “meeting” a doctor for the first time over the phone or video is even more difficult, particularly where strict adherence to privacy rules can lead to stilted conversations (i.e. starting a new consultation by asking patients to state your full name, date of birth, etc. without any preamble).

Clarity is also helpful, for example, outlining how long appointments may take, if there are tools going to be used (diagnostic, shared decision making) and reasons for their use.

I have used Zoom, for some time, with a few of my colleagues before. The experience has been underwhelming. This is despite the fact that I have a decent fibre. The images become pixelated with cranked up voices. You may have seen the images of people collaborating in multi-windows but those are stock advertising images. The real world is totally different from the online avatar!

via Making remote consultations work for patients during covid-19: experience from the “other side” of the virtual clinic – The BMJ