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Remote consultation principles

To support healthcare professionals, HEIW recommend the following high-level key principles when providing remote consultations to patients.  The principles are underpinned by existing standards and guidance from professional regulators

  1. Ensure patient safety is the main priority and raise concerns if the service or system in which they are working does not have adequate patient safeguards in place, including appropriate identity and verification checks.
  2. Be able to identify vulnerable patients and take the appropriate steps to protect them.
  3. When beginning the consultation, tell patients their name, role and (if applicable) professional registration details, along with anyone else in the room.  Establish a dialogue and make sure the patient understands how the remote consultation is going to work. Some patients require reassurance they are receiving the same level of care and consideration as they would face-to-face; older and vulnerable patients may need longer or more support.
  4. Obtain informed consent and follow relevant mental capacity law and codes of practice.
  5. Undertake a clinical assessment and access medical records or verify important information by examination or testing where required.
  6. Inform patients about all the options available to them, including declining treatment, in a way they can understand.
  7. Summarise the agreed actions from the appointment, ensuring the patient understands these, any timescale, and give them a chance to ask any final questions before ending the appointment.
  8. Ensure patient records are accurately updated immediately after the consultation.
  9. Make appropriate arrangements for after care and, unless the patient objects, share all relevant information with colleagues and other health and social care providers involved in their care to support ongoing monitoring and treatment as necessary.

The high-level principles have been adapted from those endorsed by:

  • Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
  • Care Quality Commission
  • Faculty of Pain Medicine
  • General Dental Council
  • General Medical Council
  • General Optical Council
  • General Pharmaceutical Council
  • Health and Care Professions Council
  • Healthcare Improvement Scotland
  • Healthcare Inspectorate Wales
  • Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • NHS England and NHS Improvemen
  • Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland
  • Royal Pharmaceutical Society
  • Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority