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Moving consultations and meetings into a safer, more virtual world

28th May 2020 | | Marketing

The world on the other side of the lockdown is already shaping up to be one that’s more virtual. With social distancing in place for the unforeseeable future, and a strict triage system to keep your practice and patients safe, face-to-face appointments will be fewer in number, even as you phase into reopening.

Virtual consultations have boomed in popularity as a way for practices and health care providers to keep communication alive during this time. We’ve seen it used successfully as a service that practices can use to triage their patients, providing essential advice and prescribing necessary painkillers and antibiotics if necessary.
The social benefit of a video appointment

A virtual consultation is essentially the middle ground between a phone call and a physical visit. While you’re obviously limited with how you can assess the issue, you can at least see what’s going on. This could be enough to give a diagnosis that will help you prescribe the right medicine.

There’s also something reaffirming about seeing the person who is treating you. When we communicate, body language and our expression are a part conversation as well the dialogue. For a patient that is possibly in pain, a friendly face will put them at ease that they are being cared for, even if over a video call.

Having virtual consultations easy to access on your website

There are a number of different platforms you can use to get started with Virtual Consultations, but we first recommend advertising that you offer them on your website. You can do this via a popup or a banner. This website does this well https://thecrawleydentist.co.uk/

You can then either setup an e-consultation form:

https://www.clarendondental.co.uk/e-consultation/ or go a step further and use a platform like Smilemate.

Step 1

Patient visits your website

Step 2

Photos are submitted through the virtual consultation plugin

Step 3

Screening report is automatically generated on your dashboard

Step 4

Once the report is shared with your recommendations, patients can access it and engage in a conversation

What software to use
Once your patient has got in touch requesting a video consultation, it’s up to you to set it up. There are a number of different options that you can consider. Here’s a list:

Skype is a messaging application that specialises in providing video chat and voice calls between computers, tablets, mobile devices. Users may send text, video, audio and images. Skype also allows video conference calls for groups of up to 10 people.

Zoom is one of the most popular business video conference apps out there due to its reliability, solid web integration and other features. However there have been some reports regarding poor security standards which the company has deliberately misrepresented. The last update addressed these issues with stronger encryption and a one-stop security hub, and it’s now revealed a few more changes, starting with personal meeting IDs (PMIs). The company has confirmed that account holders and admins can now disable these personalised meeting IDs/links.

Messenger is a popular messaging app for good reason. It works well for pretty much every kind of digital communication you might want to do with your friends. It supports up to eight people in free video calls with no duration limit, and when you are doing a two-person call it switches to a peer-to-peer structure, skipping servers and potentially avoiding congestion. But it is a Facebook product, meaning you’ll need an account there.

WhatsApp is a text and voice messaging app that launched in 2009. It’s become incredibly popular since then, in no small thanks to its features and flexibility. As a free service, WhatsApp allows for messages, calls and video calls for up to 4 people on both desktop and mobile devices. Part of what makes this app appealing is that it works on various phone and computer operating systems

Google Meet is a video conferencing app. It is the business-oriented version of Google’s Hangouts platform and is suitable for businesses of all sizes. The solution enables users to make video calls with up to 30 users per high-definition video meeting. The app allows users to join pre-scheduled meetings from calendar events, choose a link, enter meeting code and even dial in from their phones if the invitation includes a phone number

Need a hand getting set up?
We really recommend that you use video meetings as a safer way to communicate with your patients and also your staff. Team meetings held over these virtual forums are a great way to touch base with your full team.

For more information on how you can setup Virtual Consultations for your practice, please click here.

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