Getting patients connected
Tech requirements and advice for involving your patients
- In our study, the patient’s email address and phone number were required beforehand as a link to the Attend Anywhere system was emailed to the patient before the appointment. It is also possible to use the link to the virtual waiting area via your own local health board website (instead of using the patient’s email address and sending a link).
- A phone number is required for identification and also in the event of a problem with the video call. If the VC connection fails, the consultation may instead continue via telephone. All patient details are purged from the Attend Anywhere system after the call.
- Attend Anywhere will work on any device. If patients are using an iPhone or iPad, they will need to download the free Attend Anywhere app.
- On the day and time of the appointment, the patient simply follows the online link and is connected with the GP practice virtual waiting room. Attend Anywhere will ask for their name and telephone number (so that the GP knows it is the right patient) and then they can start the video call. The GP also logs in to Attend Anywhere and can then see the patient’s name on their screen and take the video call.
When I got the email and I just went on at the right time. It was fine. I think I had to do it twice because I lost either the WiFi signal or 4G… But I went back on it and it came up straight away near enough, but she answered the call pretty quickly
- Patients are advised to find a safe, quiet and private room for the confidential VC at the booked time slot. If the patient misses the VC appointment and the call to their back-up telephone number is not answered, this may count as a ‘Did Not Attend’ on the patient’s record.
- We do not recommend that patients use 4G on their smartphones for VC as the signal is less reliable and the video connection can be lost. Once the connection is lost, the patient must log in to Attend Anywhere again to reconnect to the surgery.
There was a video connection, it was slightly pixelated, and the sound quality was poor. Of course, there are any number of reasons that could be the case, it may not be the software that we’re using, it’s possibly the equipment that other patients are using, we’ve got no way of controlling that.
- A video consultation uses less than half of the data you would use while watching a YouTube video in High Definition. That’s about 230 MB on a mobile device, and 450 MB on a PC for a 20 minute call. You don’t use any data while waiting for the GP to join you.
The virtual waiting I think was a good idea. I would say the slightly awkward thing is, I don’t know whether they (the patient) can’t see if you’re running behind. When you’re in a (surgery) waiting room, you can see other people and you can see people coming and going, whereas you can’t have that with that (VC).
- Patients may require a test call before their first VC appointment. During our study a researcher carried this out, however a member of the practice administration/reception staff could be trained to help patients with the Attend Anywhere log in/waiting room set up and to test their sound/visual equipment before the call. (This staff member could also help healthcare professionals to test their system/equipment/Attend Anywhere log in before their first use of VC.)