This leaflet provides information about video appointments. It is for people who have attended a clinic at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and have been offered a follow-up video appointment.
Why have I been offered this type of appointment?
We know that some patients have to travel a long way to come to see us, or find travelling to hospital difficult or stressful. We are offering video appointments to some patients as an alternative to visiting the hospital for a follow-up appointment.
Video calling is as convenient as a phone call, with the added value of face-to-face communication.
Is it secure?
Yes. The video service is provided by Attend Anywhere, an NHS accredited organisation, and the service is currently used successfully by NHS Scotland.
Will it cost me anything?
If your phone is not connected to WiFi and you use 4G to connect, this will come out of your data allowance. Video calling can use a significant amount of data, so if you have a monthly mobile data plan, you may wish to check you have sufficient data available within your plan. We recommend that you use WiFi but if this isn’t possible and you don’t have the required data allowance on your phone, this will cost you in accordance with your mobile service provider’s terms and conditions.
How will the appointment be arranged?
We will schedule your next appointment as normal and send you a letter confirming the date and time. This will include a website link
to attend your video appointment.
Before your appointment, we will also send you a text reminder with the web link to join your video appointment. If you are using a smartphone with the correct internet browser (this must be the latest version of either Google Chrome or Safari) you will be able to just click on this link to attend your appointment.
What sort of computer or device do I need?
You will need a strong internet connection and one of the following devices to take part:
- A computer or laptop with a camera and Google Chrome installed on it
- An iPad
- A web-enabled smartphone (either an Android or iPhone is fine)
Preparing for my video appointment
We strongly recommend that you carry out a test call with the same device that you are planning to use for your appointment and suggest that you do this a day or so before your scheduled appointment time. This will ensure you are able to connect to your video appointment.
You can do this at your own convenience by copying the link in your appointment letter into your Google Chrome or Safari internet browser.
Click on the ‘Start Call’ button then on the ‘Test Call’ button and follow the instructions. The system will test your connection speed, speakers, microphone and video and will then confirm that you are able to make video calls.
Can I have someone with me at my appointment?
As with a face-to-face appointment, you can have someone with you if you wish. Please make your doctor/nurse aware if there is anyone else present when you have your video appointment.
Can I record my appointment?
We would ask you not to record your appointment unless you agree this with your clinician before you start.
What happens if I have difficulty joining my appointment?
If you have problems and cannot join the virtual clinic at the time of your appointment, please do not worry. Your clinician will call you using the telephone number that we have on your record. If possible, your appointment will continue instead by telephone, but if not, you will be offered a rescheduled video appointment or the next available face-to-face appointment.
What do I do at my appointment time?
- Before your appointment, please find somewhere quiet and private; ideally this should be a well-lit area in your own home.
- When it is time for your appointment, simply click on/copy the link to the virtual clinic in your appointment confirmation letter or text reminder.
- Please make sure you choose the correct waiting area from the dropdown menu or your clinician will not be able to find you.
- You will then be connected to a virtual waiting room. When you have joined, you will see and hear the message: “Thank you for your video call. Someone should be with you shortly”.
- If your healthcare professional has not yet joined don’t worry; they will do so as soon as they can. Please note that they will try their best to speak to you at your allocated appointment time, but sometimes appointments can take longer than expected, so please allow up to 40 minutes beyond your appointment time for the clinician to join you, in case they are running late.
- When the appointment starts, your healthcare professional will introduce themselves and you will be asked to verify who you are (as you would with any other appointment). They will confirm that you are happy to proceed and check that you can see and hear clearly. Your appointment will then carry on in the usual way.
- At the end of your appointment you will be asked how you wish to be seen for future appointments, either face-to-face or by video.
- After your appointment your clinician will send a copy of the clinic letter to your GP and any other specialists involved in your care. You will also receive a copy.
Before attending a video appointment, it is important that you are fully aware of the precautions that you need to take to ensure your privacy and confidentiality. If you do not understand any of the following points, please ask your clinician to explain in more detail:
- The use of video is completely voluntary and you can change your video appointment to a face-to-face one at any time.
- The video call is securely encrypted but it is your responsibility to ensure that your device has the latest system updates and anti-virus protection to prevent unauthorised eavesdropping.
- The personal details that you enter to gain access to the virtual waiting room will not be stored. This information is purely for identification purposes and will be deleted at the end of the appointment.
- If you are using a mobile phone, this is only as secure as any other phone call on your mobile network.
- No part of your appointment will be digitally recorded, but the medical outcomes will be documented on your patient record in the same way as they would for a face-to-face appointment.
Please note that your clinician may refuse to conduct the video appointment if they do not feel you are in a suitably private place or if the quality of the video connection is not adequate.
The video call system is web-based and is compatible with both Android and iPhone screen readers for patients with impaired vision. It is also suitable for patients who require an interpreter (including BSL) and there is a messaging facility for patients and clinicians to chat online in real time. Please ask if you would like further information.