In Southern Denmark, the number of video consultations has risen dramatically. It rose from just 311 in 2015, to over two thousand in all of 2019. In just the first seven months of 2020, the numbers grew to 6,339. From July 2019 to July 2020, there was an increase in use of more than 80%. During the height of the pandemic, between April and August 2020, nearly 1,000 consultations took place using “My Hospital” (Mit Sygehus), a newly introduced app.
My Hospital is an app for smartphones and tablets, and is also available in a web-version accessible on computers. The app is a tool for communication between patients and healthcare providers – its purpose is to increase patient empowerment and engagement in their own treatment. It is used in both the physical and mental health services in the Region of Southern Denmark.
At the beginning of 2020, the regional IT department implementation team had planned a face-to-face pilot implementation of the My Hospital app in the Esbjerg department in the west of the Region. The Centre for Telepsychiatry was to be in charge of the video solution. When the pandemic hit, the plan was brought to a halt and the team had to rethink the process. The urgent, new needs of both patients and healthcare professionals had to be taken on board. The existing video solution had a limited capacity. So, the team focused all its energy on implementing the My Hospital video solution in all mental health departments during the spring – all this without being able to meet physically with any of the users.
The team’s hard work and dedication paid off. All departments now use the app for video consultations. They are closely supported by the implementation team members, who are never more than a phone call away. The team is continuously improving the tool and the implementation process to overcome specific obstacles. The app is being made as user-friendly as possible.
Healthcare professionals express satisfaction with the tool and some surprise. They see how well the format works for reading body language and establishing a sense of security and proximity in the treatment.
For specific patient groups, video communication has distinct benefits. It can also replace at least parts of consultations which would normally have been carried out face-to-face. For instance, some patients with anxiety find it difficult to leave their own home. Video consultations offer them the chance to establish an initial relation with their therapist, and make it easier for them to visit the clinic for later appointments.
|COVID-19 changed the introduction of My Hospital quite drastically. Its implementation process sped up, and it has been able to support individuals with difficulties throughout the crisis. The Centre for Telepsychiatry hopes and plans for more advances of this sort throughout 2021, without the ongoing drama and dangers of a pandemic.|
For further information about the app, the implementation, or the work of the Centre for Telepsychiatry, feel free to reach out to EHTEL Vice-President Mette Atipei Craggs at email@example.com.
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