Online access to GPs can offer benefits to GPs and patientsBMJ 2017; 359 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j5769 (Published 20 December 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5769
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In his letter (http://www.bmj.com/content/359/bmj.j5769.short), Mr Black points out that the future success of online consulting depends on system developers learning from experience and adapting their systems accordingly. eConsult is doing just that. Over the past year we have been continually evolving and refining our system based on feedback from our patients and practices. We are clinically-led and strive to support general practice delivery, improving access for patients and easing pressure on the system. Data on return on investment is building and, most importantly, patients do really like it. Our own patient evaluation bears this out. We have sampled 12,300 patients this year, and 80% are satisfied or extremely satisfied using eConsult to contact their GP. Only 30% of consultations using eConsult result in a face to face appointment.
For clarification, eConsult does not use “complex algorithms” to supplement GP expertise, but asks patients to submit their medical symptoms online in a structured manner – a process more akin to a GP consultation with safety features built in.
eConsult is now the digital consultation system of choice in primary care, live in more than 400 NHS practices in 40 CCGs across the country and providing 165,000 eConsultations a year to NHS patients.
Competing interests: Co-Founder of eConsult, GP Partner Hurley Group