Our vision: to transform access to medical care.

E-consultations – evidence and fear

You can’t have failed to notice that everyone’s talking about e-consultations and whatever the evidence (or lack of it), the GP Forward View fund is forcing the pace.

Evidence.  It’s the key battleground because if £45m is going to be spent the public needs to be assured that it’s value for money (more particularly, the NAO).

But the public. as we measure their actions and views with askmyGP, are saying something very important:  we like this more and more.  This week feedback includes:  “Happy with the quick response.” (f 62), “good, easy, fast” (f 56), “System very easy to use, I will use this again” (m62).

You know my skepticism of anecdotes, but they do illustrate the trend, which is 60% now saying this is a better system.

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The common theme is easy and fast, and it’s those practices who understand this that are reaping the benefits.  The fact is, patients have to be begged to use a new online channel, they don’t all rush at it, and only bother the GP when they’ve tried Googling for self help (75% in the latest survey).

Those that fear their patients are missing out.  “This is a great way to avoid an unnecessary doctor’s appointment.” (f 43), and I really love this one, (m 77), “Both parties benefit by sometimes not needing a surgery visit”.

Pure genius.  Patient-centred care means it’s a joint decision on how best to help, not a barrier for patients to overcome.

Harry Longman

PS Not just for data nerds, it’s astonishing to see how over the last 20 months askmyGP use on smartphone has shot from only 22% to 48%, as PC use has shrunk.

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