Online consultations can boost continuity of care, NHS medical director says

Online consultations and other new technologies provide a big opportunity to improve continuity of care in the NHS, according to the NHS's medical director.

Professor Keogh: growing availability of new technologies from private providers ris undermining continuity of NHS care
Professor Keogh: growing availability of new technologies from private providers ris undermining continuity of NHS care

Speaking exclusively to GPonline.com, Professor Bruce Keogh said the NHS needed to increase its use of new technologies to reduce costs and improve access, quality and continuity of care.

‘We need to address how we use this technology for improving continuity of care,’ he said. ‘There’s a really big opportunity there.’

Online NHS consultations would be more convenient for some patients and allow commuters and others to have remote consultations with their usual GP, Professor Keogh said.

But he warned that the growing availability of such services from private providers risked undermining continuity of NHS care.

‘It means that there’s the potential for a lot of medical exchange going on that the GP knows nothing about,’ he said.

The NHS therefore needs to ensure it uses such technology to improve continuity of care, Professor Keogh believes.

But he said he did not think such technological solutions should be centrally driven. 'In my view what has been wrong in the past is that the DoH and others have always tried to answer those questions,’ he said.

‘We have 150,000 doctors out there. There will always be one of them, and maybe more, who know the answers.

‘That is what we have to harness. That is how we are going to improve the NHS. I just don’t think we have done that well in the NHS.’

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