Implementing alternatives to face-to-face GP consultations unlikely to deliver hoped-for benefits in practice

Understanding how, under what conditions, for which patients, and in what ways, alternatives to face-to-face consultations present benefits and challenges to patients and practitioners in general practice.


The substances of actualized other options to up face-to-face GP consultations, for example, phone, email, on the web, and video counsels, imply that sought-after decreases in GP workload and increments in accessible arrangements for patients won’t be figured it out.

NHS strategy urges general practices to acquaint choices with up close and personal conferences as a method for expanding access to medicinal services and diminishing GP workload. Be that as it may, the confirmation of their utilization and viability is constrained.

The specialists contemplated, top to bottom, how an assortment of mechanical, other options for GP consultations was being utilized as a part of eight general practices of various sizes in various geological zones – some urban, some rustic – and in various regions of financial hardship in the UK. They found that in spite of the fact that there were some potential advantages, there were likewise huge hindrances to execution, with Hones frequently reacting to motivating forces to present new advances without a reasonable method of reasoning or unmistakably thoroughly considering the conceivable expenses and advantages for patients and practice staff.

There was additionally inadequate preparation of non-clinical staff, for example, medical caretakers and receptionists, on the most proficient method to utilize the advances suitably and impart the advantages to patients.

Educator Chris Salisbury from the University of Bristol‘s Center for Academic Primary Care stated: “Technological alternatives to face-to-face GP consultations are being pushed as the solution to reducing GP workloads and increasing patient access to primary care services. The reality on the ground is that implementation is difficult. Practices are introducing the technologies for different reasons, and a ‘one size fits all’ approach will not work.

“Our study shows that, currently, GP practices are struggling to identify and implement the most beneficial uses of these new technologies, and they are frequently being adopted without sufficient understanding or support. Implementation was not well enough thought through in relation to personnel, training or logistical factors. As a result, efficiencies are not being realised.”

“In particular, we identified a tension between the desire to make access to health care easier and more convenient while at the same time aiming to reduce GP workload. We found that new ways of accessing health care advice may well increase rather than decrease GP workload.”

For patients, the accessibility of a more extensive scope of choices for counseling could be extremely useful for some patient gatherings yet can possibly lessen the time the specialist has accessible for vis-à-vis meetings, which could disservice different patients.

Dr Helen Atherton, from the University of Warwick, said, “Our findings suggest that policy-driven top-down approaches that use financial incentives as a way of encouraging adoption of alternative consultation methods are not the best way forward if efficiencies are to be made. Instead, individual practices should take a considered and tailored approach, based on the needs of their practice population and available resource, so that there is an equitable delivery of care.

“We have produced guidance for GPs that will help them do this and are planning to do further evaluations of newer technologies, such as electronic consultations and video consultations, in the future.”

The finding was published in the British Journal of General Practice today.


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