What practices need to know when choosing a remote consultation provider

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With many practices facing an ongoing challenge to manage clinical capacity in the midst of rising patient demand, there are many different scenarios where a practice or PCN might consider utilising an external partner.

It might be covering a defined period of sessions in the event of sick leave or annual leave, or providing regular long-term capacity at a specific time of day. Some practices choose to build out their digital capabilities further as part of growing their practice, or bring in extra digital skills to add to a multi-disciplinary team.

While at a system level, some partners may need to deploy a digital service following a practice closure, or to meet emerging needs in a specific locality.

No matter the scenario, there are some key factors to consider when choosing who to partner with. Here, in this article we take a closer look.

Stability of service

From our experience, stability is consistently cited by partners as being one of the most valued elements of any good remote service. Same day demand has never been more difficult to anticipate and plan for. Maintaining continuity of service and filling any available gaps no matter how short the notice is vital.

This is one of the key ways Livi Practice differs from other providers. For example, where a locum may be unavailable or a practice may have difficulty finding a regular doctor, digital clinical capacity can provide resilience teams can depend on that’s always ‘switched on’, no matter the circumstance.

In the case of our partner, Hazeldene Medical Practice, the team sought support following a series of practice mergers. Livi Practice has helped to provide a standardised, reliable solution for primary care capacity and supported practice growth.

“With support from Livi as our strategic partner, one of the most important benefits we have achieved is having a stable workforce and service in place that can provide a doctor to fill a session on a given day. With Livi, you’re purchasing peace of mind.” - GP partner

We know stability at scale is just as important too. With some practices at risk of closure currently, one of the ways Livi works with both ICBs and GP federations is providing the necessary clinical capacity to support individual practices to stay open across a footprint, building system-wide resilience.

Consistency of working

Another key factor is the level of integration a provider can offer with existing ways of working. Whether it’s consistency with local policies, procedures or prescribing frameworks, or making referrals in the same way a practice is accustomed to and to the same standards.

Mirroring these ways of working is all-important to reducing administrative burden on practices that are already stretched in many cases and working flat out. Here at Livi, we have designed our Livi Practice service to do just that, easing burden on teams, and providing a standardised solution in sync with practices. We also provide back-office support.

The goal is to create a seamless experience for practices and patients. We believe any good model should allow teams to book a digital consultation just as they would with their own ‘in-house’ clinicians with minimal effort.

“It’s seamless and Livi GPs simply task the jobs to be picked up by the same team members that we do. It’s basically like having additional GPs but not onsite, just GPs working remotely for us.” - GP partner

Our service integrates with EMIS or SystmOne. Bookable appointments are simply displayed within your existing clinical system, while any clinical notes from Livi clinicians are also recorded there too. It’s one of the ways we work as a true extension of the practice team, something which our partners greatly value.

"I consider ourselves one organisation doing the best we can for the patients that we serve, thank you for an outstanding service." - Partner practice

Quality of care

Finally, and most importantly, we know ensuring standards of care consistent with your practice is a key concern when using any external clinical service. Clinicians must have the required level of skills, experience and expertise to serve the needs of your patients.

We have a robust clinical governance and safety framework in place to ensure high standards and are rated CQC outstanding. While all Livi clinicians are experienced NHS doctors that are GMC registered and on the performers list. Clinicians also undergo specialist training in remote consultations. At Livi, the quality of care we provide is consistently highlighted by both our partners and patients.

“I then talked to another amazing doctor. She just listened. She managed to reinstate my medication, and she also referred me to a mental health service for more support. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s just the fact she listened, learned my whole backstory and dedicated that time to me. …This felt personal.” - Livi patient

And with general practice facing growing complexity in patient needs, we can also offer a blend of clinical expertise and clinician types which can increase patient access without exceeding practice budgets.

Indeed, many of the practices we work with opt for a mix of GPs, ACPs and nurses and this has delivered positive outcomes for both individual practices and system partners.

Find out more

To find out more about how Livi Practice can support you, contact our team on

We can offer a highly quality, cost-effective, consistent solution for digital primary care capacity, whether your needs are short or long term.

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