RCGP offers advice for around online consultations safety

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  • RCGP offers advice for around online consultations safety

    RCGP offers advice for around online consultations safety

    Wednesday, 11 April 2018 13:19
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a woman in front of computer imageApril 11 2018

Advice and considerations around the safety of online patient consultations has been issued for patients, GPs and commissioners.

The Royal College of General Practitioners’ document sets out a number of questions people should consider if wanting to use or provide an online consultation service. These are intended to get people to think about aspects such as:

  • Will they see me whatever my health problem, or exclude me if I have complex health needs?
  • Will they have access to my full medical record, so that they know my medical history?
  • What happens if I need to see a GP in person – how far will I need to travel?

The RCGP is also advising that patients should ensure the service has been inspected by the Care Quality Commission (or equivalent bodies outside of England), as well as look into how their personal information will be kept safe, Other aspects to consider include whether the service is providing a free NHS service, or if a fee will be required.

It has issued the advice as “a growing number of services offering consultations online, most commonly via a smartphone apps, are hitting the market. Whilst many of these are private, some have developed partnerships with GP practices in order to deliver NHS care,” said the RCGP.

Professor Martin Marshall, Vice Chair of the RCGP and author of the guidance, added: “The College recognises that online consultations can be beneficial for patients, and indeed many practices across the country are already implementing in some form.

“However, we want to ensure that they are being implemented in a way that is safe for patients and alleviates pressures in general practice and across the NHS. We also think that online consultations should be provided in addition to traditional services, not instead of them.

“We hope this guidance will help everyone – patients, GPs, practice team members and commissioners – gain a better insight into online consultations, and, most importantly, help equip them with the information they need, so that patients are receiving high-quality, safe care, whichever way they choose to receive it.”

Link:
RCGP announcement   

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