This guide is designed to help you get started with video consultations. Here you can find information on:
- Where to have your video consultation
- How and when to start your video consultation
- Check your setup before the consultation
- Which devices and browsers can I use?
- How to get to the video from a laptop
- Can I invite family into the video consultation?
Read this quick start guide for a summary of your next steps and click the embedded links to learn more.
Where to have your video consultation
For your video consultation to run smoothly, it's important that you find a quiet, comfortable spot with the best possible internet connection (cup of tea recommended 😉).
For the strongest WiFi signal, sit near your router so there are as few obstructions as possible between it and your device.
Please don't try and have your video consultation on the move. The quality of the video will probably be poor or the call will break up completely, wasting your time and your doctor's. Walking to work, on the bus or in a car are all really bad places to have a video consultation.
You'll also want to be at home or at work to take advantage of WiFi and save your mobile data. If you cannot be on WiFi, do make sure you have mobile data turned on in your system settings.
How and when to start your video consultation
You should get a text reminder with a link to your video room an hour or two before the appointment time. You can also join the video room from the appointment details view in the portal.
The video room will only be open about an hour before your appointment, you'll see a message if you try and join too early. But do join a short time before your appointment, because it's worth taking a minute to test your computer or mobile device is set up okay.
You will need to wait in the video room until the doctor can join you. Just like a normal hospital visit, sometimes clinics run a little late. It's important that you remain in the video room; the doctor will be able to see on her screen that you are waiting, but if you close your web browser it will look like you no longer wish to have the appointment.
One more thing! You will need to make sure your web browser is allowed to access your camera and microphone. On some browsers it will prompt you to do this, on others you may need to check your browser settings (we have another article to help with this).
Check your setup before the consultation
Running a self-test is a quick and easy way to make sure your device is working ready for your video consultation. It only takes a couple of minutes, and is the best way to ensure success.
From the waiting room you can use the "Test setup" button to access the self-test.
- To test your speakers, click the "Test" button. You should hear a short chime. If you hear nothing, it may be that your computer or mobile is currently muted, or that the volume is set very low. Check this first.
- If this is not the issue, you may need to change the speaker setting on your device. You might find this in Control Panel on a Windows computer, or System Preferences on a Mac. Mobile phones and tablets have similar device settings screens. This is often necessary if using earphones or a headset.
- To test your microphone, speak out loud. You should see the volume indicator under "Microphone" flashing if your microphone is working.
- If not, try changing your input device from the drop-down menu.
- If this does not work, it may be that your web browser has not been allowed access to your mic. You will need to find the settings on your browser to rectify this.
- To test your video, close the "Settings" pop-up and you should be able to see yourself in full screen while in the waiting room (or in the top right hand side of the screen if you're already in the consultation).
- If you can't see yourself as we've described above, make certain that the camera on your device is switched on and not covered by something.
- If that is okay, you may need to change your input video preferences from the drop-down menu.
- If this does not work, it may be that your web browser has not been allowed access to your camera. You will need to find the settings on your browser to rectify this (we have another article to help with this).
For extra assurance, you can also complete a more thorough pre-call test that includes checking the strength of your internet connection. This link will take you to a test page for the video technology used by our video consultations: https://tokbox.com/developer/tools/precall/
Which devices and browsers can I use?
On a Windows laptop or desktop computer, your video consultation will work on the latest versions of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Microsoft browsers are not properly supported but you might wish to try if you have no other option.
On Android mobile phones and other devices, video consultations should work on Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
On iOS mobile phones and tablets (iPhone, iPad), your video consultation will work on recent versions of the Safari browser. At this time it will not work on Chrome or Firefox.
If you are using the recommended browser for your device and it does not work, you may be using a very old version. We strongly recommend that you upgrade to the latest browser version, not just for the sake of your video consultation but because it will give you a better and more secure experience generally!
How to get to the video from a laptop
If you've received the link to your video consultation via text message, and want to join the video consultation from a computer or tablet there are two ways to do it. One way is to sign-in to the Patient Portal on your computer. Here's how you can do just that:
- Go to https://nhs.my
- Enter your personal details and click "Let's go!"
- This will send a one-time-code to your mobile phone
- Once you have entered that into the portal, you're signed-in
- Now find the right appointment and click on it
- You should find a "Join video room" button on the appointment details view
- ...and that will get you in
As an alternative, you can copy-and-paste the video link from your text message into an email, and send it to yourself. Open the email on the other computer and the link will still work. This is quicker and easier if you're familiar with copy-and-pasting links.
Can I invite family into the video consultation?
If there is someone not living with you that you wish to join your video consultation, you can forward your text message to them. Or copy-and-paste the link from the message into an email. They can use exactly the same link and it will allow them to join the video consultation with you.
There are two important points here. The link you receive is private to your video consultation. But this does mean that anyone you share it with can join the call. Be careful!
Also, it may be appropriate to check with your doctor or the hospital first, and confirm that it is okay for you to invite someone else. Imagine your appointment was at the hospital - would your doctor expect you to bring this person into the consultation room with you?
Finally: there is a limit of four people in a video consultation, including the doctor. So you cannot turn this into a party 😉.