At the heart of healthcare are relationships; communication is foundational to good relationships and the work of healthcare. This communication in caring has predominantly been carried out face-to-face, though remote forms of communicating (e.g. telephone) are embedded in existing care pathways and an aspiration to increase digital care was set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.
The massive shift in practice this year towards remote communication and care, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, has provoked fevered debate on the benefits, limitations, creative opportunities and pitfalls of running healthcare services remotely at scale.
On the 25 November 2020, we held the first of our Connecting Q Locally webinar series which posed the question 'Remote consultations: what is their role in sustainable healthcare?'
Our inspiring speakers weighed up the impact of remote consultations and care using a sustainable healthcare lens, focussing not only on clinical outcomes but also impacts on the environment (on which we all depend for our health), social wellbeing (of staff, patients and community) and cost.
We heard from:
- Dr Andrew Appleton, Clinical Digital Lead & Chief Clinical Information Officer, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG, who discussed remote consultations and their role in primary care.
- Dr Shanti Vijayaraghavan, Consultant Physician in Diabetes & Endocrinology, and Joanne Morris, Senior Project Manager at Barts Health NHS Trust, Newham University Hospital, who discussed the role of remote consultations in secondary care.
- Ben Tongue, Head of Sustainability at NHS Digital, who discussed the main carbon footprint contributors of digital services.
Following interviews with our speakers, we held a Q&A that covered a range of topics:
- What is the carbon footprint of working from home versus at large estates?
- If you are redesigning the whole pathway to include digital solutions, how do you include a face-to-face option as well?
- How do you manage to interact with elderly patients that may not have access to digital tools?
- Did you use co-production methods when setting up your digital service?
- Perceived barriers of remote consultations?
- What are some of the hidden impacts of digital care?
Coming soon! video clips of the event, a thought-provoking exercise for you to lead with your team and a summary of key points.