Providing access to specialist services across Scotland through virtual consultation

11,000 people in Scotland are currently living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – the highest incidence in the world.

MS is often diagnosed in the midst of establishing careers, relationships and families where a type of care out with a hospital would benefit the health and wellbeing of patients enabling them to maintain a valued quality of life alongside continuity of care.

(MS Society UK)

Revive MS Support in Glasgow has begun to provide vital therapy through a remote consultation pilot. It provides better opportunities for patients with MS and their carers or families to remain independent, active and living at home which keeps them connected to their communities and reduces the risk of isolation. Remote access to an MS nurse through a virtual clinic provides benefits that support self-management, tailored advice and immediate access to support following diagnosis. This provides a sense of empowerment to people to live full and productive lives. High standards of care are met through this innovative support service as therapy can continue without interruption due to illness or inaccessibility.

This project aims to improve access to specialist MS services throughout North Lanarkshire and the West of Scotland, that may otherwise be inaccessible in rural locations or because progression of the condition has begun to decrease mobility, preventing travel.

Read an update below from the Revive MS Support team on their ihub Improvement Fund supported project to test a virtual consultation service for MS therapy beyond the reach of traditional treatment centres.

The virtual treatment room is now a fully implemented and successful service we offer to clients. The ‘Attend Anywhere’ platform has allowed us to expand our reach beyond the Glasgow and West of Scotland area as we now have clients living in Dunoon and Stornoway.

Virtual clinic is to enable people to access services remotely for a variety of different reasons, if they have no transport and find it difficult to make appointments, if they are housebound, if working and find it difficult to get time off for clinic appointments or if they live in rural areas. Any person with MS can participate or indeed a relative/carer of that person with MS can also take part." Mhairi Coutts | MS Specialist Nurse

We are currently the biggest user of Attend Anywhere, a web-based platform that helps healthcare providers offer video call access to services, and have been asked to supply demonstrations and provide case studies for a number of organisations.

Mindfulness has proved to be one of our most popular therapies for clients through the virtual clinic. We have received extremely positive feedback from this, and we are looking toward further development because of the response. We are planning to introduce group sessions providing more cost and time effective methods of support.

Revive MS Support first virtual consultation user, Evelyn said:

"Fantastic service. Mhairi has been my MS Nurse throughout my journey and I panicked when she was no longer in that position but after having a video consultation on my smartphone I realised I can retain contact without having to be mobile. Wonderful service. Thank you so much."

We also currently provide access to MS Specialist Nurses, counselling and Speech and Language Therapy. Our staff members are continually becoming more comfortable and better experienced at using this technology. This is very promising for the future as clients from more diverse locations will be able to access Revive MS Support and the wonderful therapies we offer.

The progress we are making with this project is not only benefiting clients from further away but those with busy schedules or who are unable to travel easily to our centre. We feel this is a positive move for the future of our organisation.

Revive MS Support

The Revive team are working with the ALLIANCE and the Digital Health and Care Institute (DHCI) to ensure that the learning and outputs from the project are shared across the Third Sector. One of the key outputs from collaborating with the ALLIANCE and DHCI will be the production of a Good Practice Guide and Tool Kit for establishing remote consultation services for sharing across the sector.

The test phase provides Revive MS Support with an intelligence that can be carried forward to future projects that will help shape and design services for effective remote delivery on a national scale. The team have also recently been invited by NHS Scotland to provide a case study to be included in a learning module around Technology Enabled Care.

Funding for this project has also enabled Revive MS Support to be better placed to meet the criteria in the Scottish Government’s 2020 Vision for achieving sustainable quality in the delivery of healthcare services across Scotland:

“There is a focus on prevention, anticipation and supported self-management; whatever the setting, care will be provided to the highest standards of quality and safety, with the person at the centre of all decisions.”

To learn more about the work of Revive MS Support, visit their website.