Quality Priority

To increase the use of virtual consultations, in appropriate circumstances, to support a more timely response to patients/ clients by clinicians, and to release time back to clinicians to care.

Current Situation:

Virtual consultations have been adopted in an ad hoc manner across Locala, there are some great examples of where patients have benefited from access to a clinician through the use of Skype/ Lync video consultations. These have meant that neither the patient/ client nor the clinician have had to travel to a face to face consultation, leading to more efficient use of time whilst enabling a timely intervention.  However, we have only been able to get ‘early adopters’ to take up virtual consultations, so there is no systematic approach within care pathways as to when a virtual consultation is preferable to a face to face contact.

Why is it a priority?

There is a huge increase in demand on community services, with both the older and younger age ranges growing in numbers.  Therefore, it is essential that clinicians use their time in the more efficient manner, whilst providing high quality, safe and effective care.  The use of virtual contacts in a structured, systematic way enables clear expectations to be agreed up front with patients/ clients, reduces unnecessary travel time for both patients/ clients and clinicians and gives the opportunity for a timely response.

How will we achieve it?

In addition to the ongoing campaign by the transformation team and engagement of operational managers, team leaders and change agents, a senior nurse has been appointed to lead the approach to embedding virtual consultations in practice.  Initially she will focus on two services dental and health visiting to fully understand all barriers and systematically work to resolve them.  Once lessons have been learnt from these services she will move the focus to other key service areas.