NHS funds yet another pilot of Skype consultations with GPs



Bolton CCG launches Skype Consultation Pilot

This Commissioning Review article (HatTip: Jamie Driver shared in the Linkedin mHealth Group) gave me a few thoughts:

I think it’s obvious that the vast majority of NHS Patients want Video Consultations and even Doctors are now becoming aware that in the future most Patient/Doctor consultations will be conducted via video calls but it astounds me how little NHS clinics publish or even share with one another, for example Skype Consultations have already been piloted by a large group of UK GP clinics.

As a private healthcare provider providing documented video consultations to Patients it’s interesting to note that this promising NHS service was withdrawn because:

(a) the GPs quickly realised that they couldn’t achieve much more than they could achieve via conventional voice calls because they were consulting with Patients they already had a relationship with. Check out the work of Dr Tony Stern in London for an idea of how much can be achieved with plain old voice calls using basic mobile caller ID.

(b) The service didn’t capitalise on any of the innovative remote possibilities or cost saving opportunities eg. Doctors provided the Skype Consultations while sitting in their normal clinic consulting rooms instead of capitalising on the home and flexible working opportunities, they had put in place no plan to provide Patients with digital content/videos, etc, etc.

I think it’s clear that remote Video consultations will encourage Patients to record consultations for their own records and this will make Doctors a lot more accountable for the exact things they say during consultations in the same way that will happen when Patients are wearing Google Glass. I’m optimistic that this will highlight the failure of healthcare providers to document care and move us forward very quickly towards a future where Patients expect documentation of what was said and why when they consult with Healthcare Professionals.

My hope is that Bolton CCG will collaborate with Dr Amir Hannan (also in Greater Manchester) who has pioneered NHS efforts to provide Patients with access to their health information and online advice (two fundamental prerequisites that I feel need to exist for for video consultations to work for the NHS).

Join the discussion in the mHealth Group or let us know in the comments what you think…

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