The Doctor office visit only model no longer works because we can look it up

“…for millions of years, people couldn’t look it up. They couldn’t read and they hadn’t invented writing yet, so there was nothing to look up. All you knew was what you knew, along with what you could ask someone about. “Uncle Rock told me that the bark from this tree will help a headache.” With writing came notes, records and books. And with a great deal of training and effort, there were things that you could look up. This is an unsung moment in human history, because it allowed knowledge to begin to compile, and enabled all sorts of longer-term transactions…   …The current era of on-demand, widespread looking things up offers a whole new level of insight for those that care enough to take advantage of it. Unfortunately, most people don’t. 

Most organizations, most leaders, most scientists, most doctors… hesitate to look it up. We’re not sure exactly what to look up, not sure of what we don’t know, not sure of what might be out there. It still takes talent and time to find the right thing in the right place at the right time”

You can look it up by Seth Godin

mHealth Insight

The office visit only model is clearly on it’s last legs when NHS GPs are writing in board sheet newspapers labelling their Patients as ‘time wasters’ but I think the final nail comes when you see what happens when Patients get access to health records and start asking better questions, looking things up and connecting with Doctors who make themselves accessible using the tools of our time.

3.4 Billion citizens have access to the internet on their mobile so isn’t it about we encouraged and trained Clinicians to look things up? Instead of failing GPs for bringing a mobile to their MRCGP exam they should be tested on their ability to look things up WITH Patients.

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It needs to be clear: when your Doctor looks up something in front of you this is simply them proving that their ego is smaller than their interest in doing the best for you.

Here’s a poster you might like to put up in your clinic…


*** Update 27th January 2017 ***

Fortunately Daft numerical schemes to try and ration surgeries in the NHS also no longer work because of the ability that Patients and Carers now have to look things up:


For example just google the name of the Oxford scoring system that the CCGs are using in a completely inappropriate way and you could easily learn how to game that qualifying set of Q&A in a few minutes eg. Oxford Knee Score:

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Related Post: The #1 reason Doctors don’t want to provide Patients with documented video consults: it encourages internet research

About David Doherty
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