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SHARE Director, Brian McKinstry, publishes new article on the use of video consultation in general practice

SHARE Director, Brian McKinstry, publishes new article on the use of video consultation in general practice

How a doctor's appointment on a smartphone might look. (Taken from the Scotsman article, Click here to view article

SHARE Director and Professor of Primary Care eHealth, Brian McKinstry, is the lead author in a recently published study based in Edinburgh which allowed patients to have a video consultation (VC) with their GP instead of going to the surgery. The research, led by Edinburgh University in collaboration with the universities of Exeter and Warwick, used a Skype-style web-based programme called Attend Anywhere for the consultations. This method was compared with both telephone and face-to- face consultations in order to assess content, quality and patient experience.

The project involved around 150 patients across 6 GP practices within Edinburgh and the findings show that this technology could be used effectively for those who suffer from long-term health issues and reduce demand for face-to-face appointments. However in circumstances where bad news was being delivered, face-to face appointments were deemed more appropriate.

Encouragingly, doctors reported advantages over traditional telephone consultations including the ability to be able to read body language and facial expressions. Different groups of people welcomed the new technology including working people and some people with mobility problems and mental health problems, all of whom find it difficult to attend face-to-face GP appointments.

Conclusions from the research article found that overall VC may be suitable for simple problems not requiring a physical examination. VC appeared similar to telephone consultations (TC) in length, quality and content but both of these methods were found to be less “information rich” than the traditional face-to-face consultations. Some experienced technical issues although patients did respond well to VC. However it was highlighted that further developments would need to be made prior to this system being embedded into mainstream primary care.

Please see the full article, published in the British Journal of General Practice for more information: 


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