Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust (LTHT) has started to offer outpatient appointments via video, using the Virtual Clinic platform by digital solutions provider Involve Visual Collaboration.
Rob Child, programme head of digital health programmes for LTHT said: “LTHT have been working with efficiencies to improve the care provided by the hospitals, and Virtual Clinics were on our radar. The Informatics department understands the importance of the changing nature and demands of providing care, and digital tools can help to meet those demands. Many services within LTHT came to us asking to use Skype or FaceTime to hold video consultations, however these platforms aren’t secure or configured to hold Virtual Clinics, so we made the decision to find a suitable platform.”
LTHT and Involve already had an established relationship, through a pilot of Virtual Clinic with the Trust’s Radiology team, which was in conjunction with Nottingham University Hospitals Oncology team and Macmillan. The successful pilot within Radiology team opened further conversation between Involve and the LTHT digital transformation team.
The use of Virtual Clinics aims to benefit patients in several ways: mental health patients will have appointments over video allowing them to remain at home, children with Cystic Fibrosis who have an infection risk will use Virtual Clinic for interactions and the service will be used to reduce the amount of travelling time for patients. Plus, Virtual Clinic will be used by dispersed services across five sites to link the services, therefore offering collaborative care.
Child added: “Our Radiology department were already using Virtual Clinic, so we started conversations with Ben Cattell from Involve and started to see the art of the possible. We offered Virtual Clinic to all services across LTHT, and most of them wanted to be part of the pilot. 61 Virtual Clinic Accounts have been deployed across 29 departments, offering video consultations to outpatients in a variety of use cases.
“We have already had 135 staff attend Virtual Clinic training sessions, and we hope 20% of patients with follow-up appointments will use the service. As the use of the service develops, we want to offer every clinician in the hospital their own Virtual Clinic, to continue improving patient care by using digital solutions. This is the start of a journey for Leeds Teaching Hospitals.”