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Digital health: GPs aren’t “Luddites” but want safe, equitable care

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 19 March 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l1258
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

Many GPs support digital primary care but say it needs to be based on evidence and shouldn’t disadvantage patients with complex health needs. Gareth Iacobucci reports

Digital healthcare is “not about replacing GPs” but about “leveraging the very best technologies such as artificial intelligence and trying to remove the unnecessary [workload] burden that we currently face,” London’s GPs were told last week.

Mobasher Butt, a GP and medical director of Babylon Health, a key player in digital healthcare, said that such services were also “a tool for patient choice” that could let people access healthcare in the same way they did in many other aspects in their lives.

It’s an argument that GPs have been hearing for some time now.

The government commissioned Topol review, published last month, concluded that doctors should be trained in genomics, artificial intelligence, and digital healthcare technologies to improve services and help ensure a sustainable NHS.1

The NHS in England recently launched its own app ( allowing patients to book GP appointments, and the BMA and NHS England have agreed a new contract deal that requires all general practices to make at least 25% of appointments available for online booking by July 2019 and to offer online consultations by April 2020.2

Inverse care law

Butt made his comments during a panel debate on how digital health should develop at the annual conference of Londonwide Local Medical Committees, the umbrella group that represents the more than 7000 GPs in the capital.

GPs at last week’s conference generally agreed …

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