Video Consultations in Primary and Specialist Care During COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

Even before the covid-19 pandemic, virtual consultations (also called telemedicine consultations) were on the rise, with many healthcare systems advocating a digital-first approach. At the start of the pandemic, many GPs and specialists turned to video consultations to reduce patient flow through healthcare facilities and limit infectious exposures. Video and telephone consultations also enable clinicians who are well but have to self-isolate, or who fall into high risk groups and require shielding, to continue providing medical care. The scope for video consultations for long term conditions is wide and includes management of diabetes, hypertension, asthma, stroke, psychiatric illnesses, cancers, and chronic pain. Video consultations can also be used for triage and management of a wide range of acute conditions, including, for example, emergency eye care triage. This practice pointer summarises the evidence on the use of video consultations in healthcare and offers practical recommendations for video consulting in primary care and outpatient settings.