Digital GPs: virtual medical appointments are here

Women pointing at a clipboard

You can now see a specialist without leaving your home.

By Sayjal Mistry

With looming lockdowns and having to come up with new ways of doing things, virtual medical appointments look like the way forward. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered on that front. 

Time – and potentially life – savers 

Getting a medical appointment isn’t always easy as you’d hope.

Waiting on hold (with that music). Trying to get an appointment. And then having to factor in travel time (never mind in rush hour). 

It was already tricky enough. And then COVID-19 came along. 

With lockdown and shielding restrictions, it became even harder to be seen by anyone. So it’s no surprise that medical appointments are more likely to be by phone or video than ever before. 

It’s not a bad thing at all. It can save you time, money (no need to pay for transport or parking) and help stop infections spreading too. With a virtual appointment, doctors can see patients who can’t get to them – whether that’s because they’re isolating or simply can’t travel.  

Virtual appointments aren’t going anywhere  

So much has changed recently. But it seems likely that even when COVID-19 has passed, telephone and video appointments will remain 1.

That’s because they’re simple and they get the job done. As long as you have a laptop or phone with a camera, mic and internet access, you’re good to go 2

And we’ve already got services in place which mean, if you need a GP or physiotherapy appointment, you can get seen – all from the comfort of your very own home. 

Consultations without the wait with the Aviva Digital GP app 

With this mobile app, there’s no waiting around for appointments – you can book to see a GP within 30 minutes. 

It’s exclusively for our health insurance customers. All you need to do is register and set up an account for yourself. You can add any dependants under 16 to your account too.  

The app lets you see the GP’s personal bio, gender and if they specialise in anything specific – so you can pick the one that’s right for you. 

You even have the option to get a reminder 10 minutes before your appointments starts.

And if you’d prefer to use the same GP again, you can. You’ll be able to see whether a GP you’ve used via the app in the last six months is available. 

Show your symptoms from your living room 

You’ll be able to book in 15-minute video consultation with a GP, without having to leave the house. 

They’ll be able to: 

• give prescriptions and order repeats ones (there may be NHS exclusions) – these can be sent to your home for free

• advise you on what to do next  

• provide with you a fit note (sometimes called a sick note – to show your employer if you’ve been off work for more than seven days in a row because of sickness 3)

• recommend further treatment via your health insurance policy if needed

Get those aches and pains seen to at home with Physio Essentials 

With our Physio Essentials cover, you can get seen by a physiotherapist to work on your injuries or conditions.

It’s open to anyone and everyone. It includes face-to-face and virtual appointments and up to five clinical assessments each policy year (per policy holder) – all for £14.50 a month. There’s a premium if you’d like to add your spouse or civil partner. 

With virtual appointments available, you can get access to expert physiotherapy without having to leave the house. And because the physiotherapists we use are private, you’ll get seen quickly – without waiting around for an appointment.

That same high-level service 

If you’re having a virtual appointment, you’ll still get the same, high-quality service. 

In fact, certain conditions are ideal to be assessed over video, such as musculoskeletal conditions, orthopaedic rehabilitation, sports injuries and lots more. That’s because a remote physio gets to see you in your own environment – your home – giving them a better understanding of the everyday challenges you face 4

If you’d prefer to see someone in person, that’s included too. As part of your cover, there is a network of physiotherapists for you to choose from. 

Get the support you need, wherever you are

Once you raise a claim using your Physio Essentials cover, you’ll have a call with a trained physiotherapist. This will last around 45 minutes and they’ll be able to tell you what sort of appointment you need – face-to-face or virtual. 

Here’s what else your cover includes: 

• A personalised programme, based on your needs. 

• Simple demonstration videos to guide you through your exercises you can do from your own home. 

• Follow-up calls to see how you’re getting along. 

So if things change again, we’ve got the right things in place to make sure you’re covered. Now there’s some reassurance for you. 

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