Welsh optometry practices receive USB webcam and headsets to aid virtual consultations

More than 300 practices have been supplied with equipment to boost the roll out of the NHS Wales Video Consulting Service

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Practices accredited to the Eye Health Examination Wales Service have received a USB webcam and two USB headsets as part of efforts to bolster the NHS Wales Video Consulting Service.

Clinical co-lead of the Eye Health Examination Wales Service, Sharon Beatty, said that the virtual consultation platform Attend Anywhere was offered to all optometry practices across Wales from the end of 2020.

“Attend Anywhere is a web-based communications platform that allows video appointments to take place between patients, families and clinicians. These appointments can take place anywhere convenient to the patient, such as at work or home and is accessible via any type of device that has internet access with a webcam and speakers,” she shared.

To date, 330 practices have been provided with a USB webcam and headsets, while 107 optometry practices in Wales have signed up to use the video consultation service.

Full training on using the technology is provided to all staff members when practices sign up to the service.

When the technology is rolled out at a practice, patients need to provide the practice with permission to use Attend Anywhere.

“A link containing an appointment time and date is then sent to the patient’s email address or mobile phone. Clicking on the link then takes the patient to the virtual waiting room, where they would wait for the practitioner to join them. Full records must still be maintained by the practitioner of the video consultation as per a normal face-to-face consultation,” Ms Beatty explained.

She added that feedback on the service from patients and practitioners through an optional survey at the end of the virtual consultation has so far been “very positive.”

“Practitioners have reported particular benefits for patients who have been shielding and those residents in care homes who can be triaged to determine next steps for their eye care,” Ms Beatty said.