“Can occupational health absence assessments be done thoroughly and safely by phone or by video call, and if so, how does this work?“
absolutely and this method has multiple benefits like reducing wasted travel
time and is essentially a zero-carbon option.
Healthcare professionals in the NHS like GPs and Occupational Health Physicians and Nurses have increasingly explored ways to continue to treat and advise our patients and employees requiring occupational health assessments safely, delivering the highest level of care but without the need to, where avoidable and acceptable to do so, see patients face to face. One well-established highly effective method uses telemedicine or teleconsultation. In this article we go into what a teleconsultation is, how this works, and what are the potential benefits for employees requiring an occupational health assessment.
is a teleconsultation?
A teleconsultation allows an employee who requires an occupational health medical
consultation, to consult with a doctor or nurse without having to leave home or
their place of work.
A teleconsultation is defined as:
A general term for any consultation between doctors or between doctors and patients on a network or video link (facetime, intranet, Internet, Skype)
This works in the same way as a standard occupational health assessment, however the Doctor/Nurse and the employee to communicate via telephone or video link, which can be done using a variety of different channels, using Skype as an example or high definition video conferencing. This allows both the Occupational Health Physician or OHA and the employee requiring a consultation to see each other and talk together, however remotely which enables this medical to be carried out as both parties are of course not sat in the same room together.
The Occupational Health Physician is able to share their screen
to highlight or explain certain medical results, treatment plans or health
information with the employee who is being assessed and enables the employee to
ask more detailed questions.
Teleconsultation, video-consultation and phone assessments have been used successfully in the occupational health sector for a number of years now. OH3 clinicians are very confident in providing opinions in this way and feedback from employees and patients demonstrate high levels of satisfaction with them compared to face to face assessments. Clients and companies have shared with us how they see these types of assessments, as they give great access to occupational health experts due to there being no need to travel to or from a clinic.
Is this a safe and secure way to conduct an occupational
Just like a normal, face to face occupational health assessment, teleconsultations with an Occupational Health Physician/OHA are conducted and regulated by different stringent clinical governance procedures, such as medical ethics, strict data protection and risk assessments.
Our clinicians will always use their clinical judgement to triage assessments and will advise if a face to face follow up assessment is required. We would advise if this is the case. The employee can be provided with all the options and support that they need for return to work plan via phone or video-link.
Occupational health teleconsultations are only carried out with the consent of the employee requiring the assessment. It is important that an employee taking part in an occupational health teleconsultation has the purpose of the support offered by the occupational health tele-assessment and not have an impairment which would make this less appropriate, like hearing or visual problems, which may make a face to face appointment maybe more appropriate at a later date.
OH3 is SEQOHS (Safe Effective Quality Occupational Health Service) accredited by the Faculty of Occupational Medicine. This external quality assessment demonstrates we operate to the highest national standards of approved occupational health delivery. In addition to this, OH3 is also registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office. We also only use secure platforms to conduct the teleconsultation, such as Skype, where the privacy and security of the teleconsultation can be ensured.
What conditions and occupational health assessments are
appropriate for a medical teleconsultation?
are the benefits of an occupational health teleconsultation?
There are many benefits that a teleconsultation can bring, the benefits of teleconsultations include freeing up the time and expense of the employee having to travel and commute, either by public transport or car to the occupational health clinic for their assessment. Not only does this save the employee and their organisation time, but it also saves carbon dioxide emissions as a results of travelling, which means that teleconsultations are actually a greener method of conducting medical examinations. A knock on reduction in stress as a result of travelling in high traffic at rush hour and a reduction in pollution levels in local areas will not only be good for both the local communities of the employee but also those living around the occupational health clinic.
Many employees also cite that it is less stressful having the assessment conducted in their own home or in a private room at their employment, rather than travelling to an assessment.
you have an employee who would benefit from an occupational health teleconsultation?
After finding out more information from our blog post you may have an employee who is perhaps off of work on sick leave, with this employee needing to be safely returned to the workplace when this is able to happen. One of our teleconsultations would be very beneficial here for this employee to ensure they can be safely brought back into work with any support required.
can assess almost all conditions by video-consultation or phone, usually within
3 days and have a report back to you within 3 days of that assessment. Your
employee doesn’t have to leave their own home or travel anywhere.
Each referral comes with its own booking/referral form and instructions for what kind of information we need to assess your employee. Our admin team will contact you with an appointment time for an assessment If you want more information then you can read more about our absence management assessments here: Occupational health absence management assessment.
If you would like to make a booking for a teleconsultation call us on 0191 640 9395 or email at email@example.com.