- Led by Barts Health NHS Trust, in partnership with the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford; East London and City (WELC) Clinical Commissioning Groups; Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; NHS England and Microsoft.
- Aims to spread the use of outpatient video consultations.
- Video consultations have been shown to increase patient attendance rates, improve outcomes and provide more patient-centred care.
- Will create a virtual consultation unit within Barts Health and form a national network of sites.
Traditional models of outpatient care are not always aligned to the needs of patients and can be difficult for them to access, leading to high rates of non-attendance at appointments and poor patient engagement, resulting in poor health outcomes and greater use of emergency care, plus rising costs.
Research has shown that using remote video outpatient consultations rather than face-to-face review with patients in hospital has the potential to address some of these issues. However, implementing such services within routine practice in the NHS is challenging.
At Barts Health NHS Trust, virtual consultations are a key component of the Trust’s outpatient strategy and they have developed significant expertise in the area.
Through this Scaling Up Improvement project, the team at Barts Health has created a virtual consultation unit. This is facilitating local spread and national roll-out. The unit provides: clinical, technical, management and administrative expertise; demonstration clinics; workshops; and an online forum and resource directory.
The team is working with two external sites to set up virtual consultations (Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust), and has had contact with staff at a number of other sites who are interested in online consultations.
The project website has been set up, hosting resources to support scale up for external trusts. The project team’s ultimate aim is to create a national network of sites who can learn from each other’s experiences.
Working with national-level decision-makers, the project team also aims to develop a national policy around the use of video consultations, including tariff, technology, governance and staff training. The team is also working with a technology provider to test the various options for web consultations.