Writing for The Guardian, Dr Mohammad Al-Ubaydli states that online consultations could reduce the need for face-to-face appointments with GPs by 40%.
As Chief Executive and Founder of Patients Know Best, Al-Ubaydli states that online consultations have the potential to save significant amounts of time for both patients and the health service. Instead of having to take time off work, patients could speak with their GP from the comfort of their work or home.
Additionally, this opens up treatment options to those with limited mobility and difficulty accessing treatment centres. Costly transport no longers needs to be arranged, and reduces any risk of patients with potentially contagious conditions.
One of the primary barriers to the uptake is a lack of knowledge about what constitutes an online consultation, with many clinicians believing this is done simply by email.
“We do know the right way to do online consultations: asynchronously, where a patient fills out a structured online questionnaire that the doctor checks at a later date; and synchronously, where both parties talk to each other at the same time, using video technology such as Skype” Al-Ubaydli says.
Moving just a small proportion of these face-to-face consultations online is thought can make large scale changes, as not everyone will want to pursue this option. Furthermore, online consultations allow more efficient and frequent interaction with a specialist and the advice received is available for sharing with the local GP. This completes the circle of care and means patients can access the best care wherever they live.
“GPs and doctors must move away from thinking they are too busy to consult online – indeed, it is precisely because they are so busy that they need online consultations”.
Original Source The Guardian
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