TrainingDigital Agile Working Health Professional FAQs

Health Professional FAQs

When getting started with agile working and video consulting there are common concerns that health professionals may have.

Mobile Messaging

There is no issue with using mobile messaging to communicate with patient and service users. Specific platforms such as iPlato or Accurx can be used or products including WhatsApp/ Skype when there is no practical alternative and no major risks have been identified.

Try to minimize the amount of sensitive/ identifiable information shared through these platforms

Videoconferencing

There is a multitude of  tools that can be utilised by health professionals to perform video consulting. Examples of products designed for this purpose are; Accurx, NHS Attend Anywhere or Qdoctor. However, according to NHSx generic tools such as Skype, WhatsApp, GoogleHangouts and Facetime are also ok to be used. Recently the use of Videoconferencing with patients has been highly encouraged, especially aiming to reduce the spread of Covid-19. Information should be safeguarded as any other consultation.

The consent of the patient or service user is implied by them accepting the invite and entering the consultation.

Homeworking

During the Covid-19 outbreak, it is encouraged that where possible individuals should work from home. When home working ensure that you have a good and stable internet connection and the access is secure (e.g. use a Virtual Private Network and/or if possible avoid public wi-fi) and that any security features are in use. Other simple tips involve the physical area that you work in, ensure it is private, especially if you perform video consultations. We all recall the embarrassing incident that occurred recently on BBC. It is also important that identifiable information from your home environment is also not visible.

Physical documents or notes that contain personal/confidential patient information that are located at ones home must be stored security and when traveling. Destruction of this notes must also be performed in a secure manor.

Homeworking Legislation

Health and Safety legislation applies to homeworking. There is a responsibility to the employer for carrying out a risk assessment to check whether the proposed home workplace's environment is suitable for the tasks the homeworker will be carrying out (i.e. Workstation Assessment). The employer is responsible for the equipment it supplies, but it is the employee's responsibility to rectify any flaws in the home highlighted by the assessment.

Using your own device

Even though it is not an optimal option, one can use their own devices for homeworking or to support video consulting and mobile messaging. If this decision is taken it is critical that reasonable steps are taken that the device is safe such as; using strong password or encrypted apps. Storing confidential information should be avoided unless it is absolutely necessary, appropriate security is required at this stage. It is important to take into consideration the physical security of the device, who has access to it and if data is automatically stored e.g. cloud back up. Messages do not negate the requirement of storing data on patients record.

When using own device, you may not wish to engage in patient activity that may share your own phone number e.g. text messaging. Consider alternative ways of contact.

Communication between health and social care colleagues

Communication within health and social care should remain active and continuous. When sharing information ensure that there is use of appropriate/ secure tools e.g Secure mai, NHSmail, Accurx etc.

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