Episode 060: The unintended consequences of online consultations

In this episode we talk to Professor Jeremy Horwood who is a Professor of Social Sciences and Applied Health Research at NIHR ARC West, and the Centre for Academic Primary Care, at the University of Bristol.

Paper: Unintended consequences of online consultations: a qualitative study in UK primary care

Previous studies have shown that online consultations may be best for straightforward transactions such as simple and administrative queries, but do not necessarily deliver improvements in access to care or practice efficiency. This qualitative study identified unintended consequences of a range of online consultation tools that negatively impacted patients’ ability to communicate effectively with a GP, access to care, practice workload, and staff satisfaction. These consequences were often operational challenges that could be foreseen and prevented; however, the tools also had consequences that favoured simple, remote transactions and a shift away from holistic face-to-face care.

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