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Tips for optimising telephone and video respiratory consultations


A video setting out top tips for consulting with asthma and COPD patients by telephone and video has been made by PCRS Executive Vice Chair Katherine Hickman.

Respiratory Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate and a GP in Bradford, Katherine says healthcare professionals are currently working in very difficult circumstances and there are many ways of getting the most out of telephone and video consultations.

Her tips include:

  • Internet access: When booking patients in try and ensure they are logged in to the internet so you can talk about website resources such as Right Breathe or the British Lung Foundation (BLF), they may find useful. This is something reception staff could help with before the consultation. If patients haven’t got access to the internet, text them the website links or suggest they write them down and ask friends or relatives to help them to get online later.
  • Smoking: This is an ideal opportunity to ask patients about their smoking – Ask Advise Act at every opportunity. Make sure patients have the telephone and website details of their local stop smoking service.
  • Inhaler technique: If you are doing a video consultation you can demonstrate good inhaler technique but if you are consulting on the telephone, direct patients to inhaler technique videos on websites such as Right Breathe or Asthma UK.
  • Self-management: If patients are self-managing at home it is important that they know how to do this. If they don’t have a personal asthma action plan or a self-management plan for COPD try to co-create one with them using the Asthma UK or BLF websites. Make sure the patient knows what to do if their health starts to deteriorate.
  • Exercise: With pulmonary rehabilitation services, Breathe Easy groups and exercise classes closed, it is important to encourage patients to continue exercising at home. Resources they can use include videos on the BLF website. Make it clear that if the patient finds the website overwhelming it is fine just to start with a small amount of gentle exercise.

You can watch this video and access other Covid-19 resources for primary care on this PCRS website