If the Queen can learn to videoconference, so can you!
Videoconferencing has been been around for a long time, but has really come to the fore this year. I now spend a few hours each week attending multidisciplinary meetings via videoconferencing - it is not the same as sitting in a room with other clinicians, but we are still able to share information, ideas, some healthy debate and treatment plans.
Telehealth has also been around for a while, with uptake mainly for regional patients, particularly with specialists who may be city-based. However, with COVID-19 many patient appointments now are conducted with videoconferencing. This makes a lot of sense to be able to decrease the movement of people throughout the city in the midst of the pandemic, particularly with the risk of asymptomatic transmission both from and to patients.
I had some initial hesitation using videoconferencing, mainly as patients cannot be examined, however I think it can help triage patients and make plans for further follow up including a briefer face to face appointment for a physical examination if necessary. It is very nice to be able to still meet people, and for us to see each others faces in order to establish rapport compared with a "faceless" telephone consultation.
It may seem daunting for patients to use videoconferencing, and we have noticed a hesitation in older people in particular. However, we recently had a patient nearing the age of 80 who was so happy she could work it out (with a bit of assistance), as she was going to have a videoconference with her brother for his "iso-birthday" the following day. I was also delighted to see that Princess Anne was able to teach the Queen (who is now 94 years of age!) how to use videoconferencing.
We often use Zoom, and it is fairly easy to use, as most of us have fairly ready access to technology and the internet.
Using a smartphone:
- Download the "Zoom" app from the App store (iPhone), or Google Play (Android)
- We will email you a meeting invitation, which has a meeting number
- To join the meeting, open the "Zoom" app, and tap "Join a Meeting"
- Enter the meeting number (from the email meeting invitation)
- Click "Join"
- The alternative way to join a meeting is if the invite has a link, you may be easier to click on this to automatically join the meeting.
On a laptop computer (that has a camera), you can enter zoom.us/join into the web browser address bar to access the page to enter your meeting number.
Remember to join the meeting with video and audio so we can see each other. We are here to help you if needed!