Video consultations in North Tyneside Integrated Musculoskeletal Service

North Tyneside General Hospital delivers both physiotherapy rehabilitation and advanced musculoskeletal (MSK) practitioner and GP with special interest clinics across the North Tyneside region to patients with musculoskeletal ailments.

Situation

The outbreak of COVID-19 has meant that traditional methods of working (a combination of face-to-face consultations and telephone appointments across all clinics) were no longer a viable way of managing patients’ care needs. The Trust was experiencing a backlog of appointments as well as new patients, and so needed to consider new ways of working to meet demand in a timely, safe and effective way.

Aspiration

To offer patients video consultations to avoid disruptions to service delivery and continue to support patients remotely.

Solution and impact

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust was part of the NHS England and NHS Improvement video consultation pilot so already had access to the video consultation platform Attend Anywhere. Following the announcement of the first nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Trust fitted all of the outpatient department consultation rooms with hardware capable of facilitating video consultations. MSK Hub was included in this supply, to ensure the kit required was available for use. Following a number of trial calls between team members the service went live, with video consultations made that same afternoon.

By the end of day one, there were workflows for both administrative and clinical staff and several live calls with patients were carried out. This allowed the workflows to be tweaked, and patients were contacted and offered face-to-face (to be carried out once COVID-19 restrictions were lifted), phone or video appointments. Initially, these were offered on a sessional basis but, as more patients came online and in planning for the long-term solution post-COVID-19, timed appointments were offered for both phone and video consultations.

Approximately 40% of patients accepted a video consultation over other methods to date and the responses of these patients have been positive. Many patients have also said they prefer having a video consultation over a telephone call. There have been several octogenarians effectively using video consultations.

The use of video has supported service delivery by helping to clear the backlog of patients who had either had an appointment cancelled or who were waiting to be seen.

Functionality

  • Secure NHS video call service for patients with pre-arranged appointment times
  • Patients require access to a good internet connection and a smartphone or tablet, or computer with a web browser, camera, speakers and microphone installed

Capabilities

Virtual consultation via a secure video call service.

Scope

  • Remote consultations
  • Virtually connecting with a healthcare practitioner
  • Monitor conditions at home

Find out more

Read more about video consultations in North Tyneside here

Key contact

Kristin Moat, advanced musculoskeletal practitioner, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Kristin.moat@northumbria-healthcare.nhs.uk