NHS patients in Northamptonshire suffering from Asperger syndrome or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) will soon be able to speak to clinicians through online video calling website Skype, saving time and cost and allowing more people to be seen.
Kobus Van Rensburg, a consultant clinical psychologist who has led the project, said it also has the advantage of giving clients the chance to be treated “in a setting where they feel safe“.
“It also means that they are able to have an appointment outside the standard hours of 9am and 5pm as there is no need to book a clinic room,” he added.
Online telephony could also become more widely used across the NHS. Former health minister Simon Burns said in February that digital technologies could help to improve care and that “Skype is one example of how such improvement can be effected“.
And in August, Newham University Hospital launched a pilot scheme involving Skype for its diabetes outpatients.
But ministers have also been keen to emphasise that pushing services online will not replace face-to-face contact with doctors.
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