The Enhanced Virtual Clinical Consultation >



How might we develop future ‘virtual consultations’ that enhance the current patient experience and widen access to quality health care?


There is a shift in healthcare to embrace modern approaches to patient care, disrupting traditional approaches to the patient clinician relationship and enabling patients to be more active in their journey. Demand on clinicians’ time is going up as are waiting times for health services to the detriment of patient experience of care. Using more virtual options for patient interaction overcomes geographic, social, and physical barriers to healthcare access and offers potential for interactive multi-discipline consultation for complex health needs. These new forms of interaction can enhance and improve current patient and clinician experience, as well as overcome the existing challenges with face to face consultation.


Our research within healthcare in Scotland1 has found that travel for patients to attend GP and hospital appointments is a significant issue especially, but not exclusively, in remote regions. Digital technology options such as video conferencing, social media, and digital imaging, have potential to disrupt the usual face to face examination and consultation, and develop more ‘virtual’ options for patients2 3 4. Virtual consultation can reduce the need for patient travel, reduce waiting times, and widen access to quality health care. In this future scenario, there is an opportunity to explore the requirements for such potential technology ‘disruptions’, and a need to understand the impact of these disruptions on the human experiences of care from both the patient and clinical perspectives.



2 Armfield, N.R., Bradford, M., Bradford, N. K. 2015. The clinical use of Skype: For which patients, with which problems and in which settings? A snapshot review of the literature. International Journal of Medical Informatics. Elsevier.

3 Armfield, N. R., Gray, L. C., Smith, A. C. 2012. Clinical use of Skype: a review of the evidence base. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare. Sage.

4 Banks, J. et al. 2018. Use of an electronic consultation system in primary care: a qualitative interview study. The British Journal of General Practice. Royal College of General Practitioners.