Global occupational health services company, Iqarus, is now carrying out 50% of all consultations remotely, to protect the health of energy industry workers. This has been fuelled by the impact of COVID-19, soaring from just 2% usage before the pandemic.

Iqarus, an International SOS company, has been working around the clock with clients to support those with confirmed cases of coronavirus and implement preventative measures. This is alongside providing sickness absent management via video or telephone calls.

The secure telemedicine platform provides video conferencing for return to work and routine occupational health consultations, which are often required by international oil and gas firms.

Saskia Koske, head of onshore operations, said: “We developed this process around five years ago to streamline our service offering and make appointments easier for clients to manage. Remote appointments are cost and time efficient, reducing downtime and travel, but only around 2% of the 60,000 consultations every year were carried out digitally. This has now dramatically accelerated.”

A 45-minute video call appointment allows a clinician to host video consultations, issue reports or certificates and update patient records confidentially. Patients can access the digital service from anywhere in the world to communicate with a medical specialist securely and easily.

The service is fully secure and compliant with the data protection and security provisions required of medical information handlers. In addition, International SOS is the first company globally to receive ISO certification for TeleHealth services.

Medical director, Dr Louise Slaney, said: “Digital consultations prioritise patient wellbeing and safety regardless of geographical distance as well as offering cost efficiencies for organisations. They allow us to implement clear consistency and clinical governance – from the consent process to triage and clinical support.

“Many of the cases we treat within sickness absence are related to mental health. Being able to talk openly about issues or concerns from the comfort of a patient’s own home can make this often-difficult conversation easier.”

Dr Slaney added: “We will continue to explore further opportunities to use digital innovation to improve healthcare for our clients and their employees.”