A video consultation is when you have an appointment by video call. This happens over the internet using a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Video consultations mean you don't need to travel to have your appointment. This saves you time and money, and lowers your risk of coming into contact with the coronavirus during the pandemic.
Research shows that video consultations are effective. Your doctor can still make good decisions about your treatment this way. You should get the same level of care as you would in person.
Just like a face-to-face appointment, you can choose to have a friend or family member with you during the call.
- a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, with a built-in camera, speaker and microphone
- a web browser, like Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Safari
- a good internet connection (for example, good enough to watch a YouTube video)
- enough data allowance left on your internet plan for your call
- somewhere quiet, private, and well lit
- a comfortable chair
- a notepad and pen.
If you use a tablet or smart phone:
- prop it up with a pile of books or cookbook stand, so it stays steady and you can write notes
- connect it to your Wi-Fi, as there is likely to be a better connection and you won’t use up all your mobile data allowance.
Video appointments are just as private, confidential and secure as face-to-face appointments. Your healthcare professional calls you from a private room, with secure access to your medical records.
Preparing for your call
- Write down any questions you have. This helps make sure you don’t forget any during the call.
- Make a note of your osteoporosis history. For example:
- When you were diagnosed
- Bones you have broken
- Any pain you have
- Your current and previous osteoporosis medications
- Bone density (DXA) scan or any other test results
- If you’re unsure, we’re here to help you. Speak to a specialist nurse on our free Helpline by calling free on 0808 800 0035, or emailing email@example.com.
Read more about talking to your healthcare professional about pain.
How video consultations works
You join your video call by visiting a webpage. You don’t need to download any special computer software.
You should be given instructions on how to join your call in advance. For example, you may be asked to:
- click a link in an email (only click on links you are certain have come from your healthcare provider)
- type a website address into your browser address bar.
You may need to enter personal information or a passcode to join the call. If so, you will be given this information in an appointment letter or email.
Once you’ve joined, your doctor or specialist will ask some security questions. This is to check they’re speaking to the right person.
Your first video call
It’s natural to find video calls a bit strange at first. They get easier and more comfortable with practice.
Here are some tips to help you relax and get the most out of your video call:
- When the doctor or nurse appears on your screen, say hello and wave. They will do the same. This helps you check the sound and video are working properly
- You don’t need to look directly at the camera. Looking at your healthcare professional’s face on your screen works well and feels more natural
- The small delay in the connection means you may speak over each other from time to time. This is common in video calls, so don’t let it put you off. Be patient and take the conversation slowly
- If you have technical problems, tell your healthcare professional. They can make sure you don’t miss anything important
- Ask if you need something to be explained again
During the appointment, your healthcare professional may:
- Tell you the reason for the call
- Ask questions about your health
- Make some assessments
- Discuss their opinion and any recommendations
- Give you an opportunity to ask any questions
- Summarise the next steps
Take notes if you wish, although your healthcare professional will make a written record of your appointment. You can ask for a copy of this from your GP.
The new normal?
Once the coronavirus pandemic has passed, it’s likely that video consultations will be more common than they were before. The pandemic means the NHS must try out new ways of caring for you. If these new ways are easier for you and medical staff, they’ll be used more often. Sharing your feedback after a video appointment helps the NHS improve future appointments.