People are accessing healthcare in a different way (digital). Important to assess the positives and negatives of these changes long term i.e. more people getting digital consultations may free up GP time for those who can't access digital services. Catching up with screening services, having to travel to outpatient clinic, allow video conferencing to be used to increase capacity, but to be aware of people that might not have digital access. Online consultations accelerated with pandemic but not everything can be done remotely. Need to be mindful of digital exclusion and access to digital means (broadband, laptop). Older people might be less able to use digital tools. Older people needing help to access doctors - services are there but vulnerable people need help to access - Some of these issues of access are old and not related to COVID - inverse care law Fewer night time assaults due to pubs being closed may explain why A&E attendance is down but cancer referrals and mental health presentations are also down so it's not positive. A&E attendance down and other services down. Telephone consultations now more common - people don't want to burden - fear of infection. Some people have found it easier to use video conferencing and remote health care - this could free up space for people who do need to go to GP's - which new practices do we keep long term?
Malcolm, thanks for the link, very interesting. In part our NHS already do something similar for those who are diabetic. Permission is given to see your records and updated test results. There may be other instances such as this, and offers immediate access for individuals. Not sure how accessible it is be for the elderly, and those who perhaps don't have internet access.
Estonia have led the way in digitising interactions with various aspects of govt. services, and they've found a lot of benefits: https://e-estonia.com/solutions/healthcare/e-health-record/. Think this would be a good move, but need to be mindful of digital exclusion - perhaps as an option rather than the sole way of contacting health professionals?
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