How to detect, prevent and reduce employee stress in your business

We look at the most common causes of workplace stress, how to spot the signs and how to help employees who may be suffering.

 

Stressed woman at her workstation

 

The conversation surrounding mental wellbeing in the workplace has been gaining momentum in recent years. The stigma attached to conditions such as depression and anxiety has lessened greatly, and people are slowly becoming a lot more open about the state of their mental health.

A large part of the discussion has centred on the workplace, a common cause of stress for many people. When high levels of workplace stress continue for a sustained period of time, or warning signs go unnoticed, it can start to manifest itself through stress-related illnesses. According to HSE figures, stress related illness was the direct cause of an additional 12.5 million lost working days during 2016/17, while 44% of sufferers say their workload is the cause of workplace stress.

Shining a spotlight on mental health has led to many organisations implementing new measures to help reduce stress in employees, and provide them with access to appropriate help when required. With the Government promising an extra 21,000 mental health staff, hopefully there’ll be plenty of help to go around.

Modern managers and team leaders need to be aware of potential problems as early as possible, and be able to engage their workforce in a meaningful way regarding mental health issues. Before you can develop an arsenal of useful strategies for managing stress you must first have a good grasp of the causes and warning signs of workplace stress.

 

Common causes of workplace stress

Stress, depression and anxiety can be caused by a variety of reasons. The most common work-related reason, as stated above, is workload. However, a closer look at the data reveals that tight deadlines are the most stressful part of the workload, rather than the volume of work.

The next highest cause of stress is interpersonal relationships at work. Whether it’s due to a lack of support or communication from management, or something even more severe such as workplace bullying, our personal interactions go a long way towards setting the tone of our perception of any given day.

 

Other causes regularly mentioned included:

  • A level of role uncertainty
  • A lack of control or insensitive management
  • Changes at work

 

Living in a time of economic uncertainty increases the importance of stability in the workplace, and even slight shifts in the workplace dynamic, without first consulting employees, can unsettle people dramatically.

 

You can also avoid some more specific common triggers of stress, such as:

  • Boring or repetitive duties
  • Having inadequate resources
  • Consistent long hours

 

The environment an employee works in also plays a role. Poor lighting, constant disruptions or temperature fluctuations can all make us feel unsettled.

 

man with signs of stress

Signs of stress

Stress can manifest in many different ways, but there are tell-tale patterns of behaviour you can learn look out for, before a stress related illness has a chance to develop. Of course, stress affects people in different ways, but some behaviours are common among most people. Part of a manager’s duty is to identify these signs as early as possible, so the appropriate steps can be taken.

 

Common warning signs include:

Absenteeism  – If an employee is regularly missing time from work, it could be a sign they are struggling to cope.

Behavioural changes – These can include an employee becoming withdrawn, irritable, or acting in an unpredictable manner.

Lack of interest – When a normally engaged employee suddenly seems to lose motivation/concentration, including regular tardiness.

Appearance – The impact of some of the above factors often leads to a change in their personal appearance.

While any of the above may signal the level of workplace stress is becoming too much for an employee, they may also be caused by factors outside of the workplace. It’s important to provide support for employees regardless of where the source of the stress originated.

 

Ways to help

Work-related stress management should be a fundamental part of all your processes. While specific risk assessments are good, there are several ways you can head off some common causes.

 

working from home

 

Create more flexibility in the workplace. Allowing your employees more choice in selecting when and where they work fosters trust and increases employee satisfaction. Incorporating some aspects of an activity-based workplace will empower your employees, while increasing their engagement with their projects.

 

Implementing employee health services not only shows you care, but can encourage employees to seek help earlier, minimising the impact on them personally, and the company. VideoDoc provides employees with a convenient support option. The whole process is carried out on their smartphone, and averages less than ten minutes, which is a considerable time saving over a trip to a GP’s waiting room, and an added bonus for your employees. During an online doctor consultation a doctor can provide a sick note if needed and refer customers to counselling services. If they are on anxiety medication and have run out, in some cases it can be possible for the online doctor to provide a script for a repeat prescription.

 

 

Good communication is key in any relationship, and the workplace is no different. Fostering regular communication keeps everyone in the loop, and removes the causes of stress linked to uncertainty. You can also engage your team directly about mental health. Bring the subject out of the shadows and let them know it’s taken seriously where they work.

 

When training your managers to identify stress, focus on two problems. Firstly, recognising stress as early as possible. Secondly, making yourself or a support service as accessible as possible, so problems are dealt with before they escalate.

 

To learn more about VideoDoc and its services, please contact us:

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Email: info@videodoc.co.uk

Phone: 0203 744 4226

Speak to an Online Doctor about STIs confidentiality

Patients in the UK can turn to an online video doctor consultation to discuss the best treatment for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and other illnesses that they would prefer not to discuss with their regular GP.

woman using videodoc app 2

Nearly 500,000 people are diagnosed with Sexually Transmitted Infections in the UK each year, making it a common reason for patients to book an appointment with their GP. It can be a difficult subject for patients to discuss with their family doctor, out of a fear of embarrassment, a fear of pain or the fear that the doctor might find something else wrong with them.

What Are the Common Type of STIs?

According to data from the NHS, Chlamydia is the most common STI in the UK and is transmitted during sexual intercourse. One of the key dangers of this STI is that people can continue to pass it on to others, unaware that they are infected as symptoms do not always present with this infection.

When symptoms do occur, they can come in the form of pain or a burning sensation during urination, or in the form of lower abdomen pain.

Genital warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus and can be spread by skin on skin contact even if there is no penetrative sexual intercourse. These are the second most common sexually transmitted infections in the UK.

There were 41,000 cases of Gonorrhoea in the UK 2015, making it a very common STI. One in 10 infected men show no symptoms and 5/10 women don’t show any symptoms. When they do appear, they come in the form of unusual discharge and pain when urinating.

What happens if I leave an STI untreated?

Most STIs can be treated, however if diseases like Chlamydia are left untreated for a long time it can lead to serious complications in both men and women.  Infected men might see, Inflammation of the testicles and arthritis. Women might see an inflammation of the pelvis and in the worst-case scenario complications during pregnancy.

HIV and Aids

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is perhaps one of the most serious diseases that can be passed on via sexual intercourse. Untreated, HIV can turn into AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) a life-threatening disease. If you think that you might have been exposed to HIV you can arrange a test at your GP.

How Can an Online Doctor Help?

An online doctor can talk you through symptoms, give advice about possible STI causes and explain some of the physical testing that you might go through if you must visit a specialist clinic. In this situation the online doctor will also provide piece of mind and be able to give you accurate information and hopefully stop you from worrying yourself by ‘Googling symptoms’.

Will I Still Need Further Tests?

If the doctor is concerned that you may have an STI, it’s very likely that you will be advised to visit an STI clinic or seek referral from a GP. The online doctor can’t directly refer you to be physically tested. The doctor’s mission is to look after you to the best of their ability, so while it might be frustrating to have to talk to another medical professional after your consultation, it’s all in your best interest.

Can I Get Instant STI Treatment from An Online Doctor?

In some cases, for example when a patient has previously been diagnosed with genital herpes infection and is now presenting with recurrent symptoms, an online doctor may be able to authorise the continuation of treatment.

How Can I Prevent STIs?

The easiest way to prevent your exposure to STIs is to reduce your sexual partners and to practice safe sexual intercourse with the use of Latex condoms. It’s advised to know the sexual history of any regular intercourse partner and to get regularly tested.

 

You can see a doctor now:

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The Effect of Sports Initiatives On Employee Wellness at Work

Learn how to set up a sports initiative in your workplace and discover the many long-lasting positive effects it can have on your business.

team bonded

From promoting a culture of wellness among existing staff members to serving as a powerful icebreaker for newcomers, facilitating gatherings around the area of sport can influence positive changes in your business and increase employee productivity.

Why set up a sports initiative in your business?

While there’s no denying that the fun of sport can be reason enough to offer your employees a chance to get involved, there are plenty of business-centric reasons to get things up and running no matter the size of your workforce.

Teamwork

Team sports can equip your employees with a number of workplace skills including:

  • Communication
  • Devising and implementing strategy
  • Discipline
  • Confidence

Normally teaching these skills in the office would require a classroom-like setting with presentations and lessons, with mandatory employee participation. This is, of course, suitable in some professional situations, but these skills can also be developed and nurtured on a court or a playing field.

Imagine for a moment a basketball game; players have to work together to mount an offence while maintaining a defence against the other team. This involves drawing up a game plan and sticking to it, having utility substitutes that can come in if someone gets injured and post-game analysis to see where things went right and wrong.

Now compare this situation to a team dealing with a new product launch in a company. You have to strategise, train your staff how to approach the new product, have support available from other teams if needed, all the while maintaining your existing product offering. It’s easy to see the similarities.

Stress reduction

yoga and meditation at work

 

Exercise has long been recognised as an effective way to help deal with stress. According to research conducted by the Harvard Medical School, the mental benefits of aerobic exercise have a neurochemical basis. Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.

So what’s stress got to do with sports and the workplace? Well, when you consider that the HSE has reported that 12.5 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17, setting up a sports initiative to help look after your employees’ health and well being at work is not just a nice thing to do, it’s a smart, business-conscious decision that can save your organisation money in the long run.

Employee Happiness

relaxed team

Happy workers work 12% more productively than those that may be distracted by problems in their personal lives.  Research from the University of Warwick reveals that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to a workers’ happiness. The obvious ones are comfortable working conditions, adequate remuneration, perks such as health insurance and pension etc., but companies often underestimate what an important gesture it is to look after an employee’s health.

Public Health England (PHE) tells us that 41% of the 15.3 million English adults aged 40 to 60 are reducing the amount of exercise in their days by 10 minutes each month and as a result are living more sedentary lives. PHE believes that employers should at least encourage their employees to go for a walk during their lunch break, but why stop there?

Getting Sports Up and Running

ping pong at work

Choose a Sport

The first thing you need to do is survey your company and see what type of sport they would be most interested in giving a try. Give options of team-based sports such as football, tag rugby, challenges such as ‘Tough Mudder’, or anything else that might tickle the imagination.

Incentivise

The best way to get your employees involved in sport, (apart from promoting the obvious health and social interaction benefits), is to try and offer incentives to play. This could be the offer of an extended lunch break one day a week for a training session. Employees are more likely to get involved if the sport in question does not encroach too much on their personal time, while also not impeding on their work responsibilities. Balance is key.

Subsidise

Where possible, the company should cover the bill for any sports activities that require an entry fee. If the number of employees involved is big enough it might be a good idea to pay for a coach to come in and run training sessions. As a compromise, and to include those whose chosen sport wasn’t selected to be the company’s sports activity of choice, you can allocate a sports budget per person that will allow them to enter events such as races, triathlons and other individual sports.

Health Support

All going well, hopefully nobody will get hurt when or injured when it comes to training or competing, but some wear and tear can always occur. Companies can actually have a positive role in this situation that they may not have been aware of in the past. A corporate subscription to an online doctor service will allow your employees to get advice without having to go through the costly and time-consuming process of a GP visit while injured.

Organise

team sport hiking

As your initiative grows, you can put together a sports committee to keep things growing. Use this opportunity to seek out leagues, tournaments and other competitions that you can play against other companies.  As it is with business, sports is all about numbers, so maximise your efforts to keep people involved. It can be tempting for people to only play during the warmer months and during longer evenings, so actively search for opportunities that can keep things going in the winter months such as autumn and winter competitions.

Publicise

No matter how small your sports initiative is in your business, don’t be afraid to scream and shout about it. Mentioning the achievements of the team and including a few fun photos in company emails will encourage others to join and as a result has the potential to grow happiness, company-wide.

 

To learn more about VideoDoc and its services, please contact us:

 

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Your Local Clinic Is Wherever You Are

As the UK braces for one of the busiest flu seasons on record, patients are eager to bypass long queues and drop in centres with the help of online doctors.

online-doctor-wherever-you-are

Each winter season, thousands of people in the UK that routinely make long commutes to work are finding themselves caught out when it comes to securing a GP appointment near them.

 

Struggling to be Seen

The situation is simple, people are registered with their local GPs near their home, but their place of work is as far as a two-hour drive away.  When ill, these patients are faced with the stress of having to phone in sick or make alternative working arrangements in the hope of securing a last-minute appointment near their home.

Another option at their disposal is to avail of  NHS walk-in centres (WICs) which are typically managed by nurses.  A Google search of ‘drop-in clinics near me’, or ‘walk-in clinics no appointment’ will often reveal if any of these centres are nearby, giving workers a chance of being seen on their lunch break without too much disruption to their day.

Although a useful service, these centres don’t require appointments and are based on a first come first serve basis, meaning that during times of widespread illnesses drop-in centres may not be able to serve all the patients that need care.

 

Flu Epidemic Could Hit Clinics

winter-cold-flu

There could be even more pressure put on UK health services this winter, making it harder for patients to be seen by a doctor regardless of their location.

The expected extra burden on the NHS follows reports that the tail end of 2017 could see one of the biggest outbreaks of flu in UK history, after a heavy flu season in Australia and New  Zealand, where the winter has already come to an end.

The NHS is making preparations for the arrival of  H3N2, the strain of Influenza A that hit the southern hemisphere, by ramping up its annual flu vaccination campaign.  However,  a report from the Australian government has found that the effectiveness of the 2017 seasonal influenza vaccine was preliminarily estimated to be low.  This would indicate that even with an increase in vaccinations, clinics and medical centres around the country could still see a high number of influenza cases, perhaps leading them to turn away patients.

So, faced with this potential crisis, how can patients guarantee that they and their loved ones can put their hands up and be seen by a medical professional?

 

Technology To The Rescue

Faced with the impracticalities of being seen in clinics during busy periods, more and more people in the UK are using their smartphone, tablet or desktop computer to avail of an online doctor video consultation.  Using a service such as VideoDoc patients can be seen by a doctor in a matter of minutes.

The process is similar to using Skype or Facetime and only requires a quick account setup to get started.  As well as dealing with Flu, colds, coughs and other winter illnesses, there’s a whole host of illnesses that an online doctor consultation can assist you with.

 

Online Consultations for Your Loved Ones

healthy-loved-ones-online-GP

As parents know, discovering a child is sick can cause a quick panic in the house before a plan of action is decided.  Between waiting for the GP’s surgery to open and trying to secure an appointment time is wasted.  Thankfully VideoDoc doctors are online 7 days a week from 8 am to 10 pm meaning you can have a consultation with a video doctor before you have to leave for school or work in the morning and after office hours if your child is feeling unwell in the evening.

After talking to an online doctor with your child you can have peace of mind from your own home in minutes.

 

Not Just for Emergencies

It’s undeniable that such speedy access to a medical professional is most important during a time of need, but it can also help you with non-urgent and long-term medical problems.  Two groups that would typically use the VideoDoc service in this way are women using a contraceptive pill and sufferers of chronic pain that are both in need of a simplified way to get a repeat prescription.

 

Getting The Most Out Of Your Online Doctor Consultation

To make the process even more convenient for patients, it’s recommended to have a knowledge of your own and your family’s medical history.  It’s a good idea to access VideoDoc in a quiet and well-lit space that lets the doctor see you clearly while also protecting your privacy.

It’s important to keep in mind that of course, there will always be times when talking to an online doctor may result in a recommendation to go and see a GP in person.  This could be because the patient might require further tests involving blood pressure, a urine sample or blood work, to name a few examples.  Your online doctor will always promote continuity of care and sometimes this could mean advising you to share details of your online consultation with your GP.

How to Implement Cost-Effective Employee Benefits for your Workplace

Low-cost employee benefits that UK companies can implement to reward employees and create a positive work environment.

happy work team talking

Staff Benefits

More and more, employers are playing a greater role in safeguarding the work-life balance of their employees. This can involve implementing processes like flexi-time to give employees the freedom to choose when they sit down to work which can lead to an improved relationship between management and employees and promote an environment for greater productivity.

Organisations such as Facebook and Google are known throughout the world to offer lavish corporate benefits in the workplace, everything from free meals across multiple restaurants to massages, free use of onsite gyms and more.

Others go a more traditional route with their staff incentives and offer health insurance or a contributory pension. Of course, the scale of an incentive package that a company can offer depends on its resources, which can differ depending on the business’s stage of growth.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of cost-effective incentives you can implement to create a pleasant work environment for your employees without having to declare bankruptcy.

Sports and Social

It mightn’t be feasible to open your very own corporate gym just yet if you only have a handful of staffers, but you can offer to subsidise a range of sporting or fitness activities for your employees. This could work as an arrangement with a local sports centre that sees you subsidise spin classes, Zumba, boxercise, kickboxing or anything similar your employees show an interest in. If you have the room, you can convert some extra office space into a fitness room and book a yoga or aerobics coach to come into the workplace once or twice a week.

If your employees can’t reach a consensus on the activity they would like you to subsidise in the office, you can allocate a sports budget to each person that will let them enter a running race or provide an annual contribution towards a health and fitness related membership of their choosing.

Deal Cards

After transport, one of the biggest work-related expenses employees have is purchasing lunch and breakfast. If you can take care of one of these meals daily for employees, this can go a long way to contributing to a positive working environment. For breakfast, providing a selection of cereals, fruits, yoghurts, teas and coffees is a simple but meaningful gesture. Lunch can be a bit harder to cater for everyone’s needs if you don’t have a canteen you can subsidise, but you can give employees something back in a different way with the help of a diner’s card.

Diner’s cards are subscription plans that let your employees redeem meal discounts or 2 for 1 meals etc. in thousands of restaurants in the UK. One such company is Tastecard which would cost approximately £80 annually to provide an employee with a membership. Your organisation could subsidise this cost or cover it in full.

VideoDoc Subscription

A great added health care benefit for your employees that is also affordable for employers is a subscription to the VideoDoc online doctor consultation service. This service allows employees to avail of a face to face consultation with a doctor before, during or after work hours, thus avoiding the logistical nightmare of trying to get a GP appointment for themselves or family members during peak times.

This is especially beneficial to employees that might be registered with a GP in their hometown but are commuting a great distance to get to work. VideoDoc can be accessed by any smart device or via a desktop. You can even set up a dedicated space in your office for employees to access the service. This is both convenient for employees and can help reduce absenteeism.

Cycle to Work

bike work scheme

Do you know about the UK Government staff benefits scheme ‘Cycle to Work’? This initiative allows employees to get a subsidised bike and other cycling equipment for the purpose of commuting to work. Once an employer registers with the scheme, employees can save between 25-39% depending on their tax band and equipment cost. In the UK, the scheme operates as a tax-exempt loan scheme between businesses and their employees.

Employees are essentially renting the bike from their employers during an agreed upon period and have the option to change their ownership arrangement after a year or when their employment conditions change. Learn more about the scheme at Cyclescheme.

Free Education

While we’re not suggesting you start paying off employees’ student loans just yet, you can offer an education and upskilling benefit by buying memberships to resource libraries that staff can access at their own leisure. There is a wide range of providers to choose from out there including the likes of Udemy and Lynda.

As well as enabling employees to expand their horizons and dip their toes into new business directions, it lets management explore the viability of setting up new teams, assigning new responsibilities and could even influence future products and services. Who knows, you could discover your accountant has a flair for UX design or that your head of creative has a passion for programming.

Meditation Technology

 

 

yoga and meditation at work

 

When it comes to meditation, it’s often a case of ‘each to their own’, but one service that has opened up the world of meditation and mindfulness to a much wider demographic than ever before is Headspace, the guided meditation app. Users are provided with a daily meditation track that they access the same way they would a Spotify song and listen to it at their leisure. There is plenty of content that will last a user for months, with more content to unlock as users progress through the programme. You could even set up a quiet room in your office to let employees access the app in a peaceful setting.

Learn more about how VideoDoc works now.

Getting the Most out of an Online Doctor’s Visit

Learn how to get the most out of an online doctor consultation with these handy tips from VideoDoc.

tips online doctor consultation

Tips for Employees

If your company has provided you with access to the VideoDoc online video doctor consultation service, or you have downloaded the app on your own, here are a few pointers to help you get the most value out of your online doctor appointment.

Be Prepared

Even if you are planning to talk to the video doctor about an illness you are experiencing for the first time, it’s a good idea to ensure that you have notes on your medical history near you. It’s also very helpful to the doctor if you have a list of any medications that you are taking on hand also.

If you are planning to use your smart device to access the online doctor consultation service, make sure that your device is charged before you commence the video session. If you are calling from a noisy area, ensure that you have headphones, so you can hear what the doctor is saying. You might intend to show the doctor some physical symptoms, thus, requiring your device’s webcam to be active to allow a visual exam. When using a laptop or PC you may be prompted to grant the VideoDoc service permission to access your camera and microphone.

Logging in and Payment

If you have a corporate subscription you will have been given login information from your HR department or another member of staff. Your online doctor consultation will likely be covered by your company’s subscription and you will not have to enter any payment details.

If you are responsible for paying for your own consultation and are a first time user you can register your details on the site or through the IOS or Android App, then pay for your visit using a debit or credit card.

Checklist

It’s very easy to get started with your first consultation and it all starts with visiting an online doctor. Just remember the following tips before you log in:

  • Set up your equipment
  • Light the room
  • Have your login and payment information ready
  • Have a printer for doctor’s notes or referral letters
  • Call from a fixed position
  • Have medical history and list of medication handy

tips-online-doctor-consultation

 

Unlike a clinic or your GP’s office you’ll be face-to-face with a video doctor in minutes once you activate the service, so make sure you have everything you need to hand.

Remember that sometimes an online video doctor may refer you to your GP you present with an ailment that they are unable to assist with during the video consultation.

Find out more information on the types of illnesses and sicknesses that a video doctor can help you with.

 

 

Tips for Employers

If you are an employer that is responsible for implementing the VideoDoc service throughout your organisation, you might find the following tips helpful.

corporate-online-doctor-employers

Remind Employees of VideoDoc

If your company provides corporate VideoDoc subscriptions to its employees, one of the most helpful things you can do is remind them that they have access to it. If you have a company newsletter that is circulated on a weekly or monthly basis, you can include a note reminding employees that they have access to the online doctor consultation service.

In our article, How To Create A Dedicated Space For Online Doctor Consultations In Your Workplace, we recommended that you put together a document to put beside the computer screen in the dedicated office to remind users how to start an online video consultation. Why not upload this document to the server and link to it in your newsletter?

Mention VideoDoc During Times of Need

In October 2017, the UK was visited by Hurricane Ophelia which led to some schools, businesses and public services being closed for safety reasons. Occasions like this are the perfect opportunity for employees and their families to avail of an online doctor consultation if they so require.

If you are responsible for letting employees know that your place of business will be closed via email or text alerts, use the opportunity to let them know they can avail of an online doctor consultation for free as part of their employee benefits.

Extend the Service to Employees’ Families

As an employer, you can choose to modify your corporate subscription to VideoDoc by extending the service to cover employees’ families.

One of the reasons that covering your employees’ families could be beneficial for your business is reduced absenteeism in the workplace. If your employees are feeling the effects of colds, flu or other illnesses they may be able to soldier on a day or two under the weather until they can see a doctor, whereas when a child is ill there can be more distress and disruption. Opening up VideoDoc access to your employees’ families can help prevent this.

VideoDoc offers effective health care for everyone and is particularly convenient for those who work the traditional 9 to 5. Whether you’re an employee or an employer, ensure you extract all of the benefits from your subscription, using these tips as a starting point.

Learn more about how VideoDoc works now.

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How To Take The Fuss Out Of Repeat Prescriptions With VideoDoc

Learn how to use online video doctor consultations to take the stress out of the repeat prescription process.

VideoDoc working on computer

Anyone who has ever gone through the repeat prescription process with their GP knows that it can be a difficult juggling act when you’re working full time. When refills run out it can be necessary to book another GP appointment to allow your doctor to check in on your situation and decide whether to renew your prescription.

A GP check-up is a crucial part of the prescription renewal process but there’s no doubt it can be inconvenient for patients:

  • You might be commuting several hours to work, while the GP you are registered with is in your home city
  • You might find it difficult to get an appointment during a busy time such as flu season
  • Because of work or family commitments you cannot make your appointment during scheduled times

 

How to prepare for an online doctor consultation for a repeat prescription

By booking an online doctor consultation, you can get face to face with a doctor in minutes for an assessment and any treatment needed as soon as possible.

Here are some helpful steps to ensure you get the most out of an online video doctor consultation when you need a repeat prescription.

1.     Get familiar with online doctor consultations

If you’re new to online video doctor consultations, firstly learn how to get up and running with VideoDoc. The easy to use service works on your mobile smart device and your desktop. You can check out our frequently asked questions if you would like to know more.

2.     Have your medical records ready

Request your medical records from your doctor so that you can give the online doctor as much information about your situation as possible. If you can get these in digital form you can also upload them during your consultation to the video doctor, along with any photos of symptoms that might be relevant to your condition.

3.     Keep a medical diary

Courses of medication sometimes need to be adjusted depending on a patient’s condition, whether it be an increase in dosage or a new type of medication completely. The decision to do this is usually based on a patient’s reaction to medication or if they get better. To provide the most accurate information possible to a doctor during your consultation, keep a medical diary that documents any changes in health since your last check-up. Skin discolouration, muscle pain, headaches etc. – write it all down, as these could be side effects of the medication you are on. Also document any changes in your primary condition, for example, if you have chronic back pain, take a note of incidents of increased or decreased pain.

4.     Try and schedule a health check

Like your GP, your online video doctor will always make an informed decision and act with your best interests in mind. This means that in some cases, doctors will need certain information such as blood tests, urine analysis and more before a prescription can be made for certain medications. If you see an opportunity in your calendar to schedule a health check, schedule an appointment with your primary physician so you can present the results to your online doctor, or they can get in touch with your GP and check your most recent results.

 

Use cases for online prescriptions

There are two groups of people that would be long-term users of repeat prescriptions: women using a contraceptive pill and sufferers of chronic pain. Both these groups could potentially benefit from the assistance of seeking repeat prescriptions via an online consultation.

 

Online Repeat Prescriptions and the Contraceptive Pill

young woman using computer to get contraceptive prescription

According to statistics from Catalyst the non-profit organisation that accelerates progress for women through workplace inclusion, women represent 46% of the total labour force in the UK. If you’re a woman using the contraceptive pill, the ability to get your repeat prescription online would save you from having to take time off work to make those frustrating trips to the doctor’s office when you’re feeling perfectly fit and healthy.

Online Repeat Prescriptions and Chronic Pain

elderly couple which got repeat prescription with online doctor consultation

According to research from the NHS, 43% of people in the UK experience chronic pain. As the UK population continues to age, the NHS notes that “it is likely that the prevalence of chronic pain will increase and the need for pain management and relief will grow”.

Furthermore, because chronic pain may not always be life-threatening, it’s possible that people can still work as long as their pain is properly managed. However, if unmanaged or untreated, chronic pain can cause considerable distress and adversely affect mental health.

If you’re a long-term sufferer of chronic pain, you’d likely appreciate the flexibility of online repeat prescriptions more than most.

As well as providing a video doctor service, your employer should be able to provide you with further support. According to Remploy, there are a number of ways that employers can support employees with chronic pain. These include:

  • Discussing the issue and exploring ways in which they can help
  • Offering flexible working that might help you manage your condition better
  • Agree to restrictions on manual handling

VideoDoc and Online Repeat Prescriptions

Once prescribed, an online prescription from a VideoDoc online doctor works the same as a prescription from your GP. We can send the prescription to you, or to your nearest pharmacy. A copy of your prescription can be found in your VideoDoc account in ‘consult history’ and if there are any issues with your prescription or if you accidentally delete it our care team can assist you on +44 0203 744 4226.

Learn more about how VideoDoc works now.

 

 

How to Minimise the Impact of Employee Absenteeism with Online Doctor Notes

Last year, the British worker took an average of 4.3 days sick leave, and although this was the lowest figure on record, over 137 million work days were lost in total. Over a quarter of these sick days – 34 million to be exact – were as a result of minor illnesses, like coughs and colds.

sick person at home

Common complaints like these increase pressure on medical services, which can result in delays in accessing medical services. Aside from being detrimental to your health, being unable to secure a doctor’s appointment is also bad for business.

Employees who can’t get an appointment promptly with a GP, face longer recovery times and extended sick leave if they are delayed in receiving a ‘fit note’.

Why do employees need a fit note?

In the UK, all employees must produce a Statement of Fitness or ‘fit note if they’ve been off sick for more than seven days. The note certifies that the employee is either ‘not fit for work’ or ‘may be fit to work’ and is usually issued after a visit to the doctor.

If an employee has been out for less than seven days, they’ll be able to ‘self-certify’ when they return to work by filling in a form.

Obtaining a fit note requires a trip to a GP, where a doctor will assess the patient and give advice about the functional effects of the condition on the patient’s fitness for work in general.

The doctor could decide that the patient is ‘not fit for work’ or ‘may be fit for work if taking into account the following advice’. In this scenario, the HR manager should liaise with the employee and decide what next steps to take. This may mean a gradual return to work or even a reduction in hours.

online doctor writing medical prescription

Problems with getting a fit note

While fit notes are necessary for protecting employee wellbeing, they’re often time-consuming to obtain. Workers can find it difficult to get a doctor’s appointment, and without the right certificate, they can’t return to work.

NHS walk-in centres open outside office hours but are very busy, particularly during flu season, meaning long waiting times for patients.

Commuters who are registered with their local GP can also find it difficult to get an appointment to suit their schedule. Some commuters will even have to use their annual leave to visit the doctor.

Employee absenteeism is not only bad for business, but it’s bad for employees as well. By taking days off to get fit notes or treat minor illnesses, employees risk falling behind, working overtime and losing pay. However, absenteeism can be dramatically reduced if all employees have access to VideoDoc.

How can VideoDoc help?

Every year, millions of Britons visit their GP because of minor health conditions, such as sore throats, eczema or stomach problems. These minor illnesses only require a short consultation, but a busy NHS means that delays and overrun appointments are likely.

With functionality similar to Skype, VideoDoc provides secure face-to-face consultations with experienced GPs and because it’s all done online, consultations can take place anywhere – even in the office. Following your online appointment, the GP will be able to issue a prescription or fit note when required. Prescriptions can be sent to you or faxed directly to your pharmacy for immediate collection.

VideoDoc combines medical expertise with the convenience of modern technology, meaning employees will never need to unnecessarily take time off for a doctor’s visit.

patient at home videoconsultation videodoc doctor

Business Benefits of VideoDoc

A company-wide subscription to VideoDoc is one of the most practical employee benefits your company can provide. Healthcare benefits like this boost morale by making staff feel more valued and secure, and it’s proven that happier employees make for a more productive workforce.

With instant access to registered GPs, no one will ever have to wait to get an appointment or put up with minor ailments when a consultation is only a video call away. VideoDoc’s revolutionary service allows businesses to tackle absenteeism and reduce employee sick days.

Each year, sick days cost the average UK business £554 per employee and the British economy £100 billion. Figures like that make a significant impact on the bottom line.

When you sign up for VideoDoc Online Doctor Service, your staff will enjoy a range of health benefits, while your business reclaims days’ and weeks’ worth of lost work days. Contact us today to learn more:

 

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Why It Makes Sense To Look After Your Employees’ Families

For many, the family is the biggest motivation for going to work every day. As the culture of work changes, it is critical that the value of work-life balance is championed by employers, particularly for parents and those with family commitments.

It’s important to note that creating a family-friendly workplace culture doesn’t only benefit the workforce. Research shows there are tangible business benefits that can be gained from implementing such policies.

 

“Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your business.” Richard Branson

“Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your business.” Richard Branson

Leading employers in the UK are increasingly investing not only in their workforce’s well-being but also that of their families. The Working Families Special Awards honour these employers and this year’s winners include Lloyds Banking Group, Dulas and Imperial College London.

Studies from all over the world highlight why employers are making the wellbeing of their employees’ families a top priority.

Employee demand for a family-friendly workplace

When it comes to creating a suitable work-life balance for staff, the employer needs to be at the front line. Results from a 2016 report from Employers For Childcare show that parents with supportive employers are more satisfied with their work-life balance than those parents with unsupportive employers.

And when it comes to making new hires, being able to point towards your family-friendly and wellbeing policies can mean the difference between winning or losing your perfect hire. A recent study by Glassdoor revealed that employee health benefits (along with salary) are the no.1 factor for employees considering a new job. The study also shows that four in five workers today value benefits – workplace health and wellness programs, retirement plans, free meals, paternity and maternity leave – over a pay raise.

 

mother working and taking care of her kid

The business case for committing to family

A family-friendly workplace doesn’t just benefit the employee. Five benefits that are making this policy increasingly attractive to employers include the following:

Increased productivity

Providing staff with family-friendly working practices, in particular, flexible working policies, have been shown to increase productivity. Flexitime can often include job sharing and teleworking or simply enabling the employee to alter their work hours as needed.

Reduced absenteeism

Family-friendly policies are also related to a reduction in absenteeism. Furthermore, surveys show that enabling employees to work from home are hugely effective in helping employees prepare for and manage absences.

Recruitment

Family-friendly policies have become a big factor for parents when it comes choosing a job. According to a 2014 report by The Council of Economic Advisers, a US government agency, one third of employees have turned down a job because it conflicted with their family responsibilities.

Staff retention

Employees are far more likely to be loyal to employers who offer family-friendly policies. This benefits employers as they retain their skilled, trained and experienced staff and reduce recruitment costs due to the stability and flexibility delivered by these policies.

Reduced operating costs

Many businesses are now offering roles on a part-time basis for those who want them, decreasing the organisation’s wage bill. Meanwhile, enabling employees to work from home can save on premises and energy costs.

How to prove your commitment as a family-friendly workplace

 

mother using videodoc with kids

Online family healthcare with VideoDoc

A VideoDoc corporate subscription is one example of how an employer can help their staff achieve peace of mind for themselves and their families. Throughout our day we often think of our loved ones, check-in on them, and sometimes worry for their safety. With VideoDoc, employees will have access to an online family doctor from any location using a mobile, tablet, or computer.

VideoDoc can be invaluable for employees with young children. Traditionally, the only course of action when caring for a sick child was to drive to the GP’s clinic, wait to be seen by the doctor and drive to the pharmacy for any required prescriptions – a full morning’s absence.

Now, a quick call to one of VideoDoc’s GPs can provide parents with all the advice they need within a few minutes. If a prescription is required, the online doctor can fax this to a convenient pharmacy. Providing a healthcare service such as this is an excellent way for an employer to prove their family-friendly ethos.

Other popular options that employers can provide include:

Childcare

Childcare assistance can take various forms. Some large multinationals have their own childcare facilities on-site. Other childcare policies pay a portion of the employees’ fees at an off-site facility.

Family bonding activities

Family-friendly workplaces look to build a sense of community among co-workers by organising events for employees’ families to come together inside and outside of the office. These family events look to facilitate relationships between employees’ families and to allow them to get to know the employers a little better too.

 

happy family at the park

Family-friendly = business-friendly

With so much focus on the importance of work-life balance, employees are increasingly searching for employers that will not only support their personal wellbeing, but their families’ too.

The research, as well as the potential benefits for employee and employer alike certainly indicate that a family-friendly approach is a business-friendly approach.

If you’d like to learn more about how a VideoDoc corporate subscription could benefit you and your employees, contact us:

 

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How Wellness Drives Wealth

How a wellness programme in your company can increase employee satisfaction and drive efficiencies

bonded and happy team in a meeting

Organisations in the UK have long taken a curative approach to their employees’ health and physical wellbeing by granting them time off when they were ill, or intervening in a health and safety capacity if they were injured during their work duties.

Now, progressive organisations are reaping the benefits of adopting a new proactive mindset when it comes to corporate wellness.

The business benefits of employee wellbeing

It goes without saying that a well thought out corporate wellness programme can benefit employees in every aspect of their lives from the physical, to the mental, to the emotional. What employers are increasingly recognising however, is that the benefits do not end there. Wellness initiatives are increasingly being shown to deliver critical business benefits. Here we outline three key business reasons to invest in the wellbeing of your employees.

1. Improved employee retention

Employees come and go. The rate of employee departure, or employee churn rate, tends to vary depending on the industry, job type and wage bracket. Typically, employee churn rate is higher for those in lower paid positions or more difficult working conditions.

However, organisations who commit to protecting employee wellness make big strides towards making their lives easier, removing obstacles from their day-to-day work, thus avoiding disruption in the form of employee turnover.

2. Increased productivity

A 2015 global research study from Regus, the flexible office space provider, revealed that 53% of employees believed they were closer to burnout than they were in 2010

By helping to reduce stress at work and addressing other employee wellness challenges such as diet and exercise, you are actively building morale and growing employee loyalty as well as preventing burnout.

A study from the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy, found that a group of employees made happier via three different styles of experiments showed approximately 12% greater productivity at work than a control group.

boost your company productivity

3. Keeping costs down and protecting revenues

Implementing a wellness programme in your organisation will take some time and require investment, but in the long run it can help maintain billable hours thanks to reduced absenteeism. A healthier workforce can also reduce private health insurance premiums, if a private health cover scheme is in place in your company. This is because some insurers calculate insurance premiums based on a number of factors that make up an employee’s risk profile including pre-existing conditions. On paper, the healthier the employee the cheaper the premium.

How to set up a Wellness Programme in your workplace

If you’re ready to set up a corporate wellness programme in your company, be aware that it will grow and adapt with your workforce over time. If you’re starting from scratch, here are some important initiatives to spearhead to help you cover a multitude of aspects related to employee wellbeing.

Teach stress-coping skills

People deal with stress in different ways and likewise people in different jobs are exposed to unique stresses depending on their position. This means the best strategy is to equip your employees with stress coping skills which they can apply to any situation at work or in the home.

Reach out to a professional health partner that can come in and run a seminar with staff or alternatively train relevant members of the HR department to become qualified and teach these skills in-house. Whichever you decide, ensure that the seminars will teach employees how to:

  • Manage stress at work
  • Increase self-awareness about how to recognise stress at work
  • React effectively to stress at work

According to the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), stress is a major cause of absenteeism from the workforce at a cost of £5 billion each year. Download the free ebook from the HSE that helps prepare your organisation for dealing with work-related stress.

Fuel fitness and nutrition

Research shows that many employees are now listing their food and exercise needs above traditional work-related pressures.

21% of respondents in the Regus global workplace survey cited lack of healthy eating and exercise as some of the most stressful aspects of their work life. This was above factors such as worry over job instability (15%) and working environment (7%) and working to deadlines (14%).

You can put your employees at ease by launching a sports and social club, subsidising entry fees to competitive events and even providing flexi time to facilitate morning and evening gym sessions.

On the nutrition side, you can provide access to a dietician that can come into the office and help advise your employees on a suitable diet to keep them happy and healthy. You could also provide access to confidential and private health screenings in the office, to help staff learn about how to achieve their optimum weight, body mass index, glucose levels and more.

health meal at the office

Promote meditation and mindfulness

When it comes to practicing meditation and mindfulness, some employees prefer to do this in private while others are more comfortable in a group setting. One thing that is helpful for both preferences is to set up a quiet room in the company. This could be a disused office filled with comfortable furniture that is away from chatter, office phones and fax machines where employees can go to take a moment for themselves.

As well as a place for quiet reflection, it could double as a group meditation or yoga room. Ensure you have the necessary insurance in place if you are to host any sporting or aerobic classes on the premises.

If you’re not sure how to kickstart mindfulness in your company, you can start with a corporate subscription to the Headspace app and allow your staff to achieve peace of mind in their own time and in a setting that puts them at ease.

yoga and meditation at work

Offer healthcare on-demand

A cost-effective way to reassure staff that their medical concerns will be looked after is to provide access to online doctor consultations with VideoDoc. As well as giving employees access to a medical professional through a video chat service between 8am -10am, the corporate subscription can be modified to cover their children and loved ones too – the ultimate peace of mind.

using videodoc at workplace

Celebrate your staff

Put a system in place that allows time to celebrate and reward your employees’ accomplishments when possible. This could be in the form of subsidising team nights out or hosting family day events and activities.

On a professional level, get leaders of outstanding projects to showcase their work to fellow employees in a case study format to let others know where successes can be achieved. This is a great way to inspire fellow employees on how to overcome obstacles while showing them that everyone is dealing and managing their own challenges while still focused on their professional duties.

Survey staff regularly

Before, you establish your company wellness plan, send an anonymous survey to all employees and use their feedback to shape the employee well-being programme. Check-in every 6 months to see if any offerings or feature of the programme needs to be replaced. Remember the needs and priorities of your employees can be unique may not identically follow the results of research studies or findings from other companies in your industry.

To learn more about VideoDoc and its online doctor services, please contact us:

 

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How To Create A Dedicated Space For Online Doctor Consultations In Your Workplace

Everything you need to know in order to set up a dedicated room in your organisation for your employees’ online video doctor consultations.

There are numerous benefits to making a video doctor app available to your employees, from lifting morale to minimising absenteeism. However, when such services are in place, it’s equally important to ensure that your employees are fully aware and reminded of its availability.

For many organisations, providing a dedicated space for employees to make use of the VideoDoc platform in complete privacy has proven to be a highly effective way to promote the availability of the service.

Here are seven steps to get your dedicated consultation room up and running.

Step 1: Secure a room for online doctor consultations

Like with a regular GP visit, privacy is key. It’s unlikely that employees will be comfortable discussing private medical information out in the open, so a cubicle or a corner in the office won’t do. Open up a discussion with the relevant people, be they the office manager, HR rep or wellness officer about commandeering a disused room for the purposes of online video consultations. Ideally the room can lock from the inside and an ‘occupied’ sign can be hung up outside. Try and secure a room that is in a quiet part of the building, or at the very least, a room that is as soundproof as possible.

Step 2: Equipment

Some employees might prefer to access a PC or laptop for their online consultation rather than using the app. Make a working microphone and a webcam available. It’s important that the computer is connected to a stable internet connection. If you are using WiFi, always test the connection.

Set up the computer on a desk, along with a comfortable chair. The VideoDoc platform allows patients to upload photos during the consultation to help clarify symptoms of an illness.

Keeping in mind those who prefer to use the virtual doctor app on their phones, it’s a good idea to provide a phone charger just in case battery levels are running low.

Step 3: Light the room

Due to the private nature of an online doctor consultation, it’s best practice to choose a room with no windows, or at the very least, a room with window blinds that obstruct any view from the outside. As well as a light that will let the doctor see the patient, provide a desk lamp or torch that can shine additional light on an area the doctor needs to see. This might include illuminating the eyes or throat, for example, to help the doctor make a diagnosis.

Step 4: Provide access to a printer

Providing a printer to employees in this room will further help them keep track of their own medical records. They can print sick notes, prescriptions and letters of referrals issued by the online video doctor.

Step 5: Provide a list of helpful numbers

Sometimes during an online doctor appointment, the doctor may need to contact your local pharmacist, clinic or another health facility near your office. Print out and laminate a list of these numbers and have them placed permanently beside the computer. Also leave pens and papers beside the computer in case patients need to write down any tips or advice from the doctor as well as the spellings of medications.

As the room will serve as a health resource of sorts, it’s the perfect room in which to put up a message board with leaflets for support services for a variety of different illnesses and other information that promotes awareness days and healthy lifestyles. This might include sports days, or healthy eating workshops that your company may be providing, for example.

Step 6: Run a virtual doctor app information seminar

To help employees get the best use out of an online doctor consultation with VideoDoc, run a seminar for staff about the benefits of an online doctor consultation. The session could help them set up their user profile and give a step by step demonstration of how to use the VideoDoc service.

You could also put together a handy PDF with essential information and email it to employees.

Make it clear to employees that they can access the virtual doctor app on their own mobile device or PC.

You can also refer employees to our blog post that details the instances when an online doctor app can be most helpful.  Explain to employees how useful it is to have their medical history in a journal so they can recite it with ease to the doctor. The same is true of medications, which can often have long complicated spellings or have a brand name which is unfamiliar to the doctor.

Step 7: Protect privacy

It’s important that employees know that their privacy will be respected by their employer and that their confidentiality with their doctor will be preserved.

If you’re responsible for implementing the VideoDoc online doctor service in your business, arrange with your IT department to set the computer to delete session information every 30 minutes and disable autofill information on forms to prevent employees seeing other people’s confidential information.

Go one step further and put up a notice in the room reminding employees not to leave sensitive data on the computer, for example, photos they have uploaded to the computer that they needed to share with the doctor or notes they have written on the paper provided.  Also, if any of their documents have failed to print, provide instructions on how to delete incomplete print jobs from the printer queue to prevent it printing during another employee’s session.

Equipment Checklist

  • PC/Laptop
  • Webcam
  • Microphone
  • Desk
  • Internet connection
  • Comfortable chair
  • Phone charger
  • Printer
  • Lamp or torch
  • Pen and paper
  • List of helpful numbers

If you’d like to learn more about arranging a corporate subscription to the VideoDoc online doctor consultation service, contact us:

 

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Say Goodbye To Web MD And Say Hello To An Online Doctor

Thousands of patients are already using online doctor consultations to quickly access GPs online. Learn how to get the most out of your consultation and discover which conditions are most suitable for treatment by an online video doctor.

Reclaim Your Peace of Mind

We can all be guilty of going online when we’re not feeling well, putting our symptoms into a search engine and then feasting our eyes on the worst. The sheer amount of medical knowledge that is available to patients online does nothing to alleviate our cyberchondria, the practice of searching the web excessively for healthcare information. Until now, an inaccurate self-diagnosis could often be obtained a lot quicker than a last-minute GP appointment at your local clinic. Now, Thanks to an online doctor consultation with VideoDoc, patients can find a happy middle ground in which they can get treated or receive medical advice quickly from a fully qualified doctor.

What Does an Online Doctor Consultation Involve?

An online doctor consultation is like Skyping your doctor or using Facetime. It works just like an in-person visit with your GP, except without the stress of arranging an appointment at your local clinic and with the added benefit of accessing the platform from a location you desire.

To get started, use either your mobile device or computer, to sign up for an account and then log into the VideoDoc service. From here you’ll be asked a few questions about the reason you are seeking a doctor’s consultation including questions about current symptoms you are experiencing and any medications that you are taking. You can also provide any medical history or family medical history at this time to give the online doctor as much information about you as possible, giving them the best chance to make an accurate diagnosis.

The next step is an online chat, which will be face to face appointment with a doctor. Most consultations take place within 10 minutes, but there is also the option to arrange a doctor to call back and video chat you in a few minutes.

What Conditions Can Be Treated With Doctors Online?

Depending on the specific case, there are a number of conditions and health questions that can be suitable for treatment by consulting online with a verified doctor. The online doctor chat acts as the first important step on the road to treatment plan. Conditions that can be suitable for treatment include:

facts about online doctor consultation

Can An Online Doctor Provide Me With A Sick Note For Work?

Yes, an online doctor can examine you and write you a sick note for work. This could be, for example, for a short to medium term of time for issues like flu or stress or in the short term so you have a day off to go for further required medical tests.

Online doctors are also a handy resource when you need a ‘fit note’ that deems you healthy enough to return to work. Check to see if your workplace has a policy in place requiring you to have a fit note to return to work after an absence.

From Where Can I Do My Online Doctor Consultation?

As VideoDoc is available as a smartphone app for Android and IOS, your consultation can take place literally anywhere you have data coverage. It can also be accessed on a desktop computer. To help you get the most out of your consultation, our doctors have a few helpful pieces of advice to keep in mind before starting the consult.

1.     Treat It Like An Important Phone Call

Don’t forget that after you’ve entered your medical history, symptoms and health info, you will be face to face on a call with a doctor. You’ll need to make sure you can hear each other so you can ask and have your medical questions answered. For this reason, a quiet private space is ideal. Another reason to commence your chat with the online doctor somewhere secluded is that you may have to speak some sensitive personal information aloud.

2.    Choose a Well-Lit Area

To give the online doctor the best possible chance of detecting and assessing any physical symptoms you may have, for example a rash, ideally you would start the online consultation from a well-lit room. Another circumstance that would require adequate lighting would be if the doctor needed to examine your throat or tonsils, and needed you to hold the phone up to your mouth. Don’t worry if the lighting of your environment is out of your control, as the VideoDoc platform allows patients to take photos on their phone (don’t forget to turn the flash on!) that can then be uploaded for the doctor to see.

3.    Call from a Fixed Position

The convenience of the VideoDoc service means you can chat with a doctor after or before work from a location that suits you best, but for the best results you should call from a fixed position and not while driving or on public transport. As well as for obvious safety reasons, calling from a static position means you could have more stable data coverage and won’t be too distracted by the road or fellow commuters to answer the doctor’s questions or present any physical symptoms if need be.

4.    Have Any Medication You Are Taking Within Arms’ Reach

It can be very helpful for your online doctor if you have any medication that you are currently taking and their relevant labels and packages handy. Sometimes there are competing brands for the same medication and doctors may ask you to read out the generic name so you can show them to the doctor during the consultation and eliminate any confusion.

Can I Get A Prescription Following An Online Video Consultation?

Yes, all of our online doctors have the ability to issue prescriptions for certain medications as they are all verified doctors. These can be posted out to the patient, or in some cases the doctor can communicate with a pharmacy directly. The latter example can be very useful for families travelling on holiday that may need to get an emergency supply of medication but are unable to locate a GP.

Will I Still Have to Visit A GP Following An Online Doctor Consultation?

Of course, there will always be times when a chat with an online doctor may result in a recommendation to go and see your GP in person. This could be because the patient might require further tests involving blood pressure, a urine sample or blood work, to name a few examples. Your online doctor will always promote continuity of care and sometimes this could mean advising you to share details of your online consultation with your GP.

Can I Use An Online Doctor Consultation For One Of My Children?

An online doctor consultation is extremely convenient for parents of sick children who are unable to get an after-work appointment with their own GP. Like with your own consultations, have your child’s medical history to hand to get the most out of the consultation. With video consultations involving children there is an even stronger emphasis on continuity of care, so doctors are likely to recommend a follow up with your GP in person or refer you onto a specialist doctor.

 

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8 Steps to a Healthy Heart

73,000 of people die in the UK every year from coronary heart disease. Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in the United Kingdom. However, many of these deaths can be prevented.  Here are 8 positive steps towards a healthier heart that will help to minimise the risks of heart disease and stroke. 

 

8 Steps to a Healthy Heart

–  Keep Your Blood Pressure Under Control

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, and the only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked.  You can have your blood pressure checked by a GP, a nurse or in a pharmacy.  Controlling your blood pressure through lifestyle changes or medication can reduce your risk of heart disease.

–  Take Regular Exercise

Regular exercise can improve your physical and mental health, and can reduce your risk of heart disease.  A minimum of 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, 5 times a week, is recommended.  Aerobic activities such as walking, jogging, cycling, dancing or swimming are good choices.

 – Lower Your Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood.  Keeping your cholesterol at a healthy level can reduce your risk of heart disease.  The only way to know if you have high cholesterol is to have it checked, usually by a fasting blood sample.  You can lower your cholesterol through a healthy diet or medication.

–  Eat a Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of heart disease, as well as improving your overall health.  A good start is eating at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day.

–  Stop Smoking

Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease and other health problems.  A smoker is twice as likely to have a heart attack as a non-smoker.  Stopping smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your health.

–  Cut Down on Salt

Eating too much salt can lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.  1 teaspoon of salt per day is the maximum recommended amount.  A lot of the salt we eat is hidden in processed food.  Ways to reduce your salt intake include reducing the amount of processed food you eat and avoiding adding salt to food.

–  Reduce Stress

High levels of stress can affect your risk of heart disease.  Things you can do to reduce stress include: talking to someone about how you feel, getting enough sleep, getting regular exercise, eating healthily and prioritising time to relax.

– Lose Weight

Being overweight increases your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  If you are overweight, losing even a small amount of weight can significantly improve your physical and mental health.

 

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Working as a VideoDoc doctor

One of our doctors recently spoke to GPView about working as an online doctor for VideoDoc. 

 

My day-to-day work at VideoDoc is quite varied and interesting.  I work from 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, although there are also evening and weekend shifts available.  The VideoDoc service is offered from 8am to 10pm seven days a week.  My work is very flexible and I can work from home or from any location with a good internet connection.  

 

Man using his laptop and sitting down at his desk

 

I am alerted by text message when there is a patient on the platform waiting to be seen.  Most consultations are carried out by video, but some are carried out by telephone.

 

I see a wide range of conditions, ranging from minor illness, such as upper respiratory tract infections and skin conditions, to more severe presentations which can require Emergency Department referral.

 

Following a consultation, prescriptions can be faxed to a patient’s chosen pharmacy, and then posted, or can be posted directly to a patient.  Sickness certificates are generated within the platform and can be printed by the patient.  Referral letters can be uploaded to the platform and then printed by the patient.  Apart from that, there is no additional paperwork at VideoDoc.

In addition to seeing patients, I have also had the opportunity to engage in other types of work, for example, writing and editing discharge information templates on various medical conditions, which are given to patients as part of a patient discharge report after their consultation.  I have also written training materials and scripts for training videos for doctors new to the service.

 

How is it different from your previous work models?

VideoDoc offers secure video consultations to patients on demand, meaning there is no appointment necessary.  This is quite different from the appointment system in most GP practices, and is more like a walk-in system.

VideoDoc does not aim to provide a full range of GP services.  For example, blood tests or other investigations are not carried out.  If a patient requires further assessment, including a further physical examination, blood testing or other investigation, we recommend that they attend their own GP.

 

What are the advantages of working for VideoDoc?

With VideoDoc, I can choose my own hours and work from home.  This is a huge advantage for GPs looking for more flexibility at work, as the work can be fit around family or other commitments.

 

I have had a steep learning curve since starting with VideoDoc.  It has been very interesting and stimulating to learn about the field of telemedicine, which was something that was very new to me.  I have also gained an insight into how a new service such as this is set up.  The support team at VideoDoc are excellent, and are always on hand immediately to deal with any issues.

 

From a patient perspective, I feel that VideoDoc offers a valuable service, as it is so accessible and convenient.  Patients can use the service from anywhere, including on their mobile phone, and so can avoid taking time off work to see a GP for a minor illness.

 

Patients often use the service for advice on where best to seek medical attention for a particular problem, for example with their GP or at the Emergency Department.

 

What are the challenges of working this way?

I find that the main challenge is not being able to carry out a full physical examination.  Certain types of examination can be carried out during a video consultation, such as asking a patient to shine a light from their phone into their throat to examine their pharynx.  Patients can also upload photos, which can be very useful in skin conditions.

Because of this, I tend to spend a bit more time on the history, to ensure I don’t miss anything, and I try always to have safety uppermost in my mind.  If I feel that a patient needs a more thorough assessment, I will always recommend that they see their own GP.

 

How does working this way impact on the relationships with patients?  

There is less continuity of care compared with a standard GP practice.  While it is possible to arrange for a patient to see you again, in general patients see whichever doctor is working on the platform at the time.

It is also a bit more difficult to develop a good relationship with a patient over video.  I think there is something that is lost, in the same way that talking to someone on Skype is not the same as seeing them face-to-face.  However, with good communication skills, I believe this can be partially overcome.  I also feel that the convenience and accessibility of the service outweighs this for most patients.

 

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How to beat hay fever this summer

Those suffering from hay fever has increased in comparison to this time last year. Hay fever is one of the most common allergic conditions in the UK and it is estimated that over 13 million people are affected. 

 

 

Hay fever symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose and itchy eyes. Sometimes the sinuses and throat can also be affected. Hay fever is caused by an allergy to pollens. Grass pollen is the most common cause, and tends to be a problem from May to July. Tree pollen tends to be an issue from March to May, and weed pollens from early spring to early autumn.  It is impossible to avoid pollen totally. However, symptoms tend to be less severe if you reduce your exposure to pollen. Our team of doctors have 10 tips to help protect you from hay fever this summer.

 

How to beat hay fever this summer 

 

1. The University of Worcester update their pollen tracker regularly and it can be used to keep up to date with the pollen count.

 

2. On days when the pollen count is high stay indoors as much as possible and keep windows and doors closed.

 

3. Stay away from grassy areas, especially freshly cut areas.

 

4. Apply Vaseline to the nostrils to help trap pollen particles.

 

5. Wear a hat with a wide brim and wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your hair and eyes.

 

6. Shower, wash your hair and change your clothes if you have been outside for an extended period, especially if you have been in the countryside.

 

7. Keep car windows closed, and consider buying a pollen filter for the air vents in your car. These should be changed at every service.

 

8. Minimise your contact with pets that have been outdoors as they are likely to be carrying pollen.

 

9. Consider a purifier with a built-in air quality sensor, to remove allergens and pollutants from the air.

 

10. If you still have symptoms of hay fever, you can take an antihistamine to alleviate the symptoms. There are many over the counter anti-histamines available at the pharmacy including antihistamine nasal sprays, antihistamine tablets, steroid nasal sprays and eye drops.

 

While hay fever can be uncomfortable, it is temporary, and there should be no long-term effects. With a combination of preventative measures and the right treatment you can avoid suffering this summer!

 

Our team of VideoDoc doctors can give you advice about hay fever Monday to Sunday 8am-10pm.

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7 ways to boost your mental health

It’s important to not just look after your physical health but your mental health too. Our team of doctors have come up with 7 practical ways in which you can look after your mental health. Making some simple changes to your everyday life will make a huge difference.

 7 ways to boost your mental health

1. Talk to someone about how you feel

If you feel down, or you feel upset or worried about something, sharing how you feel with someone you trust can make a big difference. You may be surprised how much people will listen and give you support when you tell them you have been going through a tough time. If you feel unable to talk to someone close to you, you could also talk to a doctor or a counsellor.

2. Take regular exercise

Research shows that exercise improves mood and reduces stress. It can also help you sleep better, and is good for your physical health too. Start slowly, and aim to build up to 20 to 30 minutes of exercise each day.

3. Eat healthily

Eating a healthy, balanced diet can support both your physical and mental health. Eating regular meals can also give you more energy during the day.

4. Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep over a period of time can lead to tiredness, poor concentration and lower mood. Everyone has different sleep requirements, but most people need 7 to 8 hours sleep each night.

5. Do things with others

Social contact, and regularly spending time with others, can have a positive impact on your mental health and can enrich your life. This could be as simple as spending time with friends or family, or could involve taking up new activities or hobbies. Getting involved in your local community, such as by volunteering, is also an excellent way to meet new people and to improve your mood.

6. Take time to relax

Finding time to relax each day, by doing something you enjoy, can help you recover from the stresses of everyday life. Choose activities which help you unwind, such as reading, going for a walk, listening to music, or watching TV.

7. Drink less alcohol

Some people use alcohol to cope with stress, low mood or anxiety. However, alcohol is a depressant, and drinking too much can worsen depression and anxiety. Drinking too much can also lead to physical health and social problems

Our doctors are available Monday to Sunday 8am-10pm and are always ready to talk if you need it.

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5 ways to protect your skin this summer

Appropriate exposure to sunshine has many health benefits. It enhances our mood, energy levels and it’s our primary source of vitamin D. However, getting too much sun can be harmful. The sun exposes your skin to ultra violet radiation (UV rays) that can damage your skin and lead to premature ageing and skin cancer.

Family on the beach

 

You probably protect your skin when on holidays abroad or on hot sunny days at home but that isn’t enough. Get into the habit of protecting your skin every day from April to September, whatever the weather. Even in the UK in spring and autumn, when the weather is cool, UV levels can be high enough to cause damage.

If you are going to be in the sun, there are a number of key steps you can take to protect yourself from UV rays. Our doctors have come up with a few tips which will help protect your skin this summer.

Sun protection tips from our doctors

 

1. Apply sunscreen regularly

Before you go out into the sun, always apply sunscreen. It is vitally important to purchase a good quality and suitable sunscreen. When you are out in the sun, make sure to reapply sunscreen every 60-80 minutes. When the temperature reaches high levels, our doctors would recommend a high factor (SPF 30 or higher).

2. If you have children, make sure to protect your child’s skin

If you have children under your care it is especially important to think about protecting them. Children’s skin is sensitive and if they don’t get the correct protection from the sun when they are young it can cause serious health issues when they are older.

3. If possible, avoid the strongest sunlight of the day.

Simply staying in the shade between 11am and 4pm. is one of the best ways to limit your UV exposure. Our doctors suggest finding some shade and avoid spending extended periods in the sun.

4. Wear appropriate clothing

When you are in the sun use clothing to cover up. A broad-brimmed hat will protect your neck and ears which are vulnerable to direct sunlight. Dark-coloured clothes can also absorb more UV rays and provide more protection than brightly coloured clothing.

5. Protect your eyes

Being outside on a bright day can damage your eyes if you don’t protect yourself. Purchasing a suitable pair of sunglasses can help to avoid causing damage to the delicate skin around our eyes. A growing percentage of skin cancers can occur on the thin and fine skin of the eyelid.

Our team of VideoDoc doctors can give you advice about sun safety Monday to Sunday 8am-10pm.

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Men, it’s time to prioritise your health

Men’s Health Week runs between the 12-18th of June. The purpose of Men’s Health Week is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and to encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men.

Men die an average of six years younger than women do, and for reasons that are largely preventable. One of the biggest killers of men in the UK is cancer and by 2020, 1 in 2 people will get a cancer diagnosis at some stage in their life.

Some of the most common kinds of cancer among men are prostate cancer and lung cancer. If caught early, in many cases cancer can be beaten and you can return to living a normal life.

Our team of doctors have come up with several ways in which you can lower your risk of cancer.

 

How can I lower my risk of cancer?

 

1. Maintain a healthy diet. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help you keep a healthy body weight. Keeping a healthy weight is important because obesity is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking.

2. Limit alcohol consumption. If you regularly drink over the recommended amount of alcohol it can have a serious impact on your health. The more you drink, the higher your risk of developing health problems. Alcohol is a known cause of several different cancers such as a liver cancer.

3. Visit your doctor regularly.  Our doctors would recommend you should visit your doctor for the general health check at least once a year. Men often don’t visit their doctor unless they are ill, visiting your doctor once a year for a health check can often help to spot the signs of an illness before it occurs.

4. Do not smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. Lung cancer is one of the few cancers that can often be prevented simply by not smoking. In the UK over 46,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year and 9 out of 10 cases are due to smoking.

5. Ensure to get cancer screened. Our doctors would recommend getting cancer screened especially if you are over 50, or members of your family have had cancer.

6. Protect your skin from the sun. Skin cancer rates are growing among men in the UK. Skin cancer is often caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun. There are many ways in which we can protect our skin from the sun such as regularly using sunscreen and avoiding spending long periods in the during the warmest parts of the day.

 

Our team of online doctors are ready to see you Monday to Sunday, 8am-10pm.  

 

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The benefits of giving up smoking

1 in every 2 people who smoke will die of a smoking related disease.  Although this is a shocking statistic, the thing to remember is that many of these deaths could be prevented by giving up smoking.  Giving up smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health.

Many people who smoke would like to give up, but are worried that they can’t.The good news is that you can give up smoking with the right support.  There are lots of ways that you can get help to give up smoking.

1. Talk to your doctor

Seeing your GP or your VideoDoctor is a good place to start.  Your doctor can refer you to local smoking cessation services, and can also prescribe medicines to help you stop smoking, such as nicotine replacement therapy (patches, gum, sprays) or Champix tablets. If you are thinking of quitting we are here to help you.

2. Join a local stop smoking service

Support from a stop smoking service can hugely increase your changes of stopping smoking. Visit www.nhs.uk/smokefree to find your local NHS Smoking Cessation Support Service.

3.  Try nicotine replacement therapy

Cigarettes are addictive, and sometimes self-control alone is not enough for you to completely stop smoking.  Nicotine replacement therapy can give you a better chance of quitting.  Nicotine replacement therapy is available in many different forms, such as patches, gum, inhalers, lozenges and strips.

What happens when a smoker quits? 

 

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Seven out of ten staff have gone to work while sick

The Aviva’s Workers Lives Report which was published recently has highlighted the rise of presenteeism among workers. Presenteeism or working while sick is a growing problem for Irish businesses. Employees are often afraid to ring in sick as they believe work will pile up in their absence. This means that there are a high proportion of employees who come to work with ailments such as colds, allergies, headaches and depression.

Presenteeism poses a threat to overall business performance due to its impact on productivity and overall morale in the workplace. Viruses and sickness can be spread around the workplace very quickly and employees who force themselves to come into work when unwell is simply counterproductive.

 

 “having employees who are unwell at work is a false economy”

 

According to Dr Doug Wright medical director at Aviva UK Health “having employees who are unwell at work is a false economy”. Organisations need to ensure they create a workplace where employees do not feel pressured into coming to work when they are unwell and to be safe in the knowledge their absence can be effectively managed.

VideoDoc also carried out research into this area earlier this year which highlighted the issue of presenteeism. Over half of people questioned had delayed seeking medical advice as they were worried about taking time off work.

VideoDoc offers an on-demand GP service to hundreds of thousands of patients. This service allows people to consult with a GP face-to-face via the online platform and without having to leave their workplace or take time off to travel to their local surgery.

For employers, investing in the health and wellbeing of their staff will go a long way in promoting a happier, more engaged and productive workforce – something that should be high on the wish list of every CEO

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