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Avoid the bugs in the waiting room - Skype with your GP
Tuesday 01 October 2013 11:38:41 by Andrew Ferguson

Telemedicine is often held up as a brilliant example of how broadband can help society and the increasing speed and reliability of access offering potential for savings and improvements in health care. Today during the Conservative Party Conference we are expecting details on a £50m trial to extend GP surgeries opening hours and also fund the use of Skype and telephone consultations.

The extended hours mentioned so far are still well shy of a 24/7 model, as we have seen 8am to 8pm mentioned, the interest from the broadband perspective is the chance that people might be able to avoid the trudge down to the surgery, the difficulty finding somewhere to park or the long trip on a bus for those without a car and the waiting.

The funding of £50m is split between 50 surgeries that cover some half a million patients, which sounds a lot of money when you consider that one of the best webcams for sometime has been the Logitech C920 HD at £60 to £90. We suspect that the extended hours may mean a good chunk will be spent on salaries and training courses to help the GP understand how to interact with a patient using video conferencing.

This pilot is not the first use of Skype by medical practices, a little searching revealed one pilot on Moss Side and another in the remote Scilly Isles.

The number of laptops, tablets and mobile phones which will work with Skype also mean that a massive segment of the population have the ability to take part.

Comments

Posted by fibrebunny over 3 years ago
You wont be avoiding anything as the pre-appointment screening process will just result in an actual appointment should the Q&A session make the quack think there is anything other than neurosis actually wrong with you.

Extended surgery hours are long overdue though.
Posted by zhango over 3 years ago
The Moss Side doctor makes the very good point: "It will never replace the core of general practice - sometimes you have to put hand on their tummy or be able to feel the patient."
Let's hope the government appreciates that before wasting too much taxpayers money on this. They've already wasted billions of our hard-earned on upgrading computer systems which didn't work.
Posted by rdowney over 3 years ago
Skype may be deemed acceptable in the UK, but in the US it doesn't meet the criteria for HIPAA. It doesn't provide breach attempt notification and it doesn't log the people on the videoconference. Just because something is free doesn't mean it's worthy of use.
Posted by drteeth over 3 years ago
What a crock of shit this idea is. One cannot examine properly this way. I want my doctor to see me and I can and will take time off work if the issue is THAT important to me.
Posted by tommy45 over 3 years ago
Camerloon has been spouting nonsense Cutting GP services so how the hell are they going to fund them to work longer hours,?http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24362902

He has really lost the plot,the man is a moron
Posted by chrysalis over 3 years ago
whilst I think longer hours and 7 days is long overdue I find 1 million spent per practice to add webcam's and extra doctor's somewhat excessive, its as if they deliberatly made it too high to bribe gp's to take part. I also hope this doesnt end up yet another tory postcode lottery as a lot of changes they make are causing regional variances with council tax benefit, supercities etc.
Posted by g3vgh over 3 years ago
From 1957 to 1994 our surgeries were open 8am till last patient was seen that day ( using an appt. system- no waiting + days to be seen. We were paid by the capitation system. Visits up to 20 + /day inc. 2-3 surgery sessions for each Dr. Eight full time Drs for 20k pts. All 'out of hours calls' dealt within the Partnership. Now 20k pts and 15 Drs - 2/3rds part time for the same size list minimal home visits and no 'out of hrs' calls. Referrals to A & E were minimal. retired GP.
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