By ADAM MORRIS
THOUSANDS of patients will be able to speak to their consultant via webcam under a project being rolled out by NHS Lothian.
The health board is already set to save £1.4 million a year after video conferencing was recently introduced for staff.
Health chiefs think it could be extended to patients, saving them even more money and time.
Initially, it would be only available to people who already had their own computer and webcam, and the facility could be used for consulting with doctors and gaining advice on a range of issues.
Among the plans being considered is one that would offer new mums ongoing support on issues such as breastfeeding, while services such as help with quitting smoking and managing anxiety levels could also be delivered remotely. Video conferencing is already being used to help reduce the health board’s £70m black hole, and has also saved the valuable time of consultants, with a return journey between Edinburgh and St John’s Hospital in Livingston estimated at about 90 minutes.
It is thought that around three million miles of driving between meeting places could also be cut with the scheme.
NHS Lothian’s eHealth director Martin Egan said: “People who use the system will, at a glance, be able to see whether colleagues are free.
“It’s a traffic light system that will allow you to send a secure message to them and set up a conference and share and collaborate documents.
Read the ful article about video conferencing to patients