Schedule time, rather than fit in between jobs.
Confidentiality: where you are, where they are! “Are you somewhere private?”
Consent before you proceed. “Are you happy for us to talk just now?” “Can you hear me clearly?”
Contemporaneous notes. Explain why there may be typing noises during conversation.
Beware if not your usual patient, and long term medication/condition. Consult with GP or other appropriate professionals.
Prob not appropriate where Safeguarding issues or doubt about mental capacity of adults.
“You may need to justify a decision to consult remotely” – not for your convenience!!!
If speaking with a child, use speaker so parents can hear.
Since you can’t see cues and can’t nod in agreement, good to check understanding and summarise what has been said to you.
Say when you will phone back if you need to discuss with someone else.
Easy to become over focussed on one particular issue and forget to assess more fully.
If becomes emotional, respond by showing you have noticed “It sounds as though you are worried/angry/frustrated about…”. Apologise if becomes hostile. Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t do. Avoid pre-empting what someone is going to say.
If parents not reassured, or your assessment of the seriousness of the condition differs from theirs, err on the side of caution and arrange a face to face consultation.
For long term conditions, it may be helpful for family to have a list of concerns before hand.
When ordering tests, discuss how these will be fed back – consider whether likely to need face to face follow up to discuss results and treatment options.
Wait until the other party has hung up.
See also Remote consultations – use of images.