Arranging and getting to a medical appointment can be time-consuming and stressful — but your smartphone or tablet can help.
With the NHS services still under pressure, technology is increasingly being used to help reduce the burden.
So how can digital devices help? How many people in Tayside are actually benefiting from the technology?
And what are the future plans if you want to get an appointment online?
Here’s what you need to know.
One of the ways the technology is being increasingly used by health boards, including NHS Tayside, is with the Near Me service.
In fact, a lot of people used it during a pandemic when lockdowns prevented us from going to healthcare settings.
What is near me?
The near me The service allows you to use your own digital device to join a video call for a booked wellness appointment.
You can talk to your doctor remotely and you don’t have to come in person.
And you can use your own device at a location convenient for you, usually from your home.
How many people on Tayside have actually used it?
Up to 40,000 consultations are now being conducted each month with Near Me across the country.
And in Tayside, since March 2020, more than 113,500 medical appointments have been made using Near Me online.
This includes outpatient departments, GP appointments and other services across the NHS Tayside.
Services such as mental health and physical therapy also use Near Me to see patients who do not need to visit a health care site.
So how do you access it and how does it work?
Go online for your appointment
A hospital, GP clinic, or other service will give you a website address for their video clinic.
Most services will give you a time, date, and time when you should start the video call.
You don’t need to download an app or create an account.
And your details remain confidential, just like any other appointment.
The Scottish government says a survey of nearly 25,000 people who used Near Me reported an average saving of 36 miles per visit.
The survey also revealed that 92% said the system was easy to use and 97% would use it again.
Does this mean that I will not get a personal date?
Video Consultations near me are not suitable for all appointments.
If you need a physical exam or a procedure, they will still need to meet you in person.
Your health, care or other care provider can advise what is right for you.
“Face-to-face appointments will always be available for people who need them,” says Health Minister Hamza Yusuf.
“But Near Me has many benefits for patients, including saving time and money.
“It allows several family members to join in on the consultations and saves patients having to take time off work or organize childcare.
The platform has also reduced the need for travel, saving an estimated 57 million miles traveled since January 2020.
“This is very important now when we look at fuel costs and the impact on the environment.”
What if I don’t have my own device?
The government recently announced funding for Establishing 55 community centers Across scotland with regions for video consulting.
And if you live locally and don’t have your own mobile phone or computer, from January 2023 you can arrange to use the service at Community Digital Health Centers located at:
There are plans to add more locations in the coming months as well.
Who can help me?
Stuart Fordyce, Digital Health Engagement Operator in Dundee, Dundee Volunteering and Volunteering#DigiDundee also helps people get online, he says.
They want to avoid digital exclusion and help those who do not yet have the skills to use technology like Near Me.
He says, “We know that there are people in society who are not confident in using new technologies and embracing the digital world that surrounds them.
“So we’re looking forward to reaching out to groups across the city and developing our volunteer network.
“We hope this can be used to support people to provide them with the skills to use the new technologies available, such as Near Me.”
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[How your smartphone can help you to a health appointment]
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