Older man talking with a medical professional on a video call

Ep 20. Early pioneers of video consultations, Dr Shanti Vijayaraghavan & Will Warburton

Video consultations have become one of the buzzwords of the NHS throughout the last 18 months, as healthcare had to balance patient and staff safety, and managing the pandemic, alongside ensuring a continued level of care for those needing it.

But, the use of video to support NHS services is not a new innovation for the pandemic. It has certainly been scaled to a previously almost unimaginable national scale, but long before the pandemic reared its head, there were digital pioneers across the health service innovating with video.

One such pioneer was Dr Shanti Vijayaraghavan, of Barts Health NHS Trust, who had been working with her colleagues to introduce video consultations into the standard care pathways for patients in Newham, London for a decade.

Joining us on Episode 20 of NHE’s Finger on the Pulse podcast, alongside returning guest Will Warburton from the Health Foundation, Shanti explained how the ability to provide some news, results and support virtually to patients which did not require an in-person visit, allowing much greater convenience for patients.

And many of the successes Shanti and her team saw challenged the expected norms too. Digital innovation such as video consultations are often seen as cutting off many older residents, and yet some of Shanti’s patients well into their later years of life were a whizz with the technology - the diverse makeup of an area like Newham meaning that many were already accustomed to using digital tools like Skype to communicate with family and friends around the country and overseas.

Internally too, there was hesitation towards digital innovation such as video consultations, but as Will, Director of Improvement at the Health Foundation - who helped back the scheme Shanti and her colleagues were rolling out - explained this simply took people to step up, take the lead and be counted.

“It takes a lot of organisation buy-in. It takes clinical champions like Shanti; a financial and business case. There were actually quite a lot of barriers we came up against.

“There was a lot of organisational change [needed] to support video consultations.”

But, as a scheme which placed a lot of focus in ensuring peer-reviewed reporting of its successes and progress, that much-needed evidence and support soon developed, reaching a point where soon backed - putting them in a position of strength when the pandemic demanded a much broader shift to video consultations.

Listen to the full podcast episode with Shanti and Will below:

NHE May/June 22

NHE May/June 22

Developing a high-quality NHS estate

The new edition of NHE’s e-magazine highlights the latest in cyber security, pharmaceuticals, NHS workforce, NHS Estates, driving innovation in procurement and more with articles from the likes of Brendan Griffin-Ryan, Senior Category Manager, Estates & Facilities, NHS SBS (pg79), West London NHS Trust and Health Education England.


View all videos
National Health Executive Presents

National Health Executive Presents

NHE365 Virtual Events

NHE has created a full calendar of events to address the most important issues that influence the delivery of healthcare services. Over 365 days you'll have the opportunity to hear from a range of highly motivating, informative and inspirational speakers. These speakers will equip you with the knowledge and unique insight to enable you to overcome the challenges that you face.

Finger on the Pulse

Ep 14. Health messaging is a science, Professor Craig Jackson

On Episode 14 of NHE's Finger on the Pulse podcast, we're joined by Professor Craig Jackson, Professor of Occupational Health Psychology
Birmingham City University to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, the health messaging around it and how those in power have missed a trick by overlooking the key role of psychology in informing the public of restrictions, measures and the ever-changing situation

More articles...

View all