The benefits of video technology have been really evident in recent weeks right across the country. The introduction of ‘Attend Anywhere’ a safe, simple video conferencing tool in various settings has allowed health professionals to continue to see patients virtually for a video call consultation during COVID 19. The HSE is in the process of rolling out various video conferencing tools, including Attend Anywhere, nationally across the country. Some 10,000 ‘Attend Anywhere’ video consultations have taken place across the country over recent months.
In CHO 1 Attend Anywhere is currently available in Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, and Monaghan, and services being delivered range from Community Physiotherapy, Respiratory Integrated Care, Diabetes Services, Mental Health Services, Psychology, Audiology to Dietetics. According to Wendy Rutherford, Implementation Lead for Donegal, "It has been a very exciting, challenging and rewarding experience supporting the National Virtual Health Team roll out Attend Anywhere. The gains for service providers and service users are considered as we are enabling effective communication and care provision through the medium of eHealth whilst under pandemic restrictions.”
Commenting on the positive impact to date, Moya Ferguson, a Senior Physiotherapist based in St. Joseph's Hospital, Stranorlar, Co Donegal noted: “Attend Anywhere has enabled us to actively engage with our clients face to face via video call. We have been able to check clients' range of movement, their gait, provide home exercise programmes and progress their rehabs such as getting them off crutches and sticks.”
A daughter of one service user described the service as “very beneficial - the physio could see my mother in her home and was able to identify some of the issues she would have such as a step between two rooms, a chair causing an obstruction and mats on the floor that might be a trip hazard."
mPower, an EU INTERREG VA Programme funded project to support the health and wellbeing of people with a long term condition over 65 years has been at the forefront of Attend Anywhere as the project was already using eHealth to support older people in their own homes. The mPower teams based in both CHO 1 and Midlands, Louth and Meath were redeployed to the National Virtual Health Team and are providing the training on how to use the platform nationally. In the last month alone, the team have trained over 3000 clinicians and health care professionals and continues daily virtual training sessions.
Match-funding for the mPower project has been provided by the Scottish Government as well as the Departments of Health in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The impact and potential of Attend Anywhere is clear from the video developed in CHO 1.