Babylon GP at Hand impact report delayed until May

A report to evaluate the impact of Babylon GP at Hand on patients, the primary care workforce and the wider healthcare system has been delayed until May.

Smartphone consultations (Photo: Sally Anscombe/Getty Images)
Smartphone consultations (Photo: Sally Anscombe/Getty Images)

Board papers published by Hammersmith and Fulham CCG - which hosts the controversial digital first provider - reveal that 'issues with receipt of data' have held up completion of the report.

The papers reveal: 'Due to some issues with receipt of data the final Ipsos Mori evaluation report has been delayed. The final report is now due to be presented to the committee on 14 May 2019.'

An interim report made public in December said the cost-effectiveness of GP at Hand was difficult to assess because of the predominantly young, healthy patient population that has joined the service.

Patient list

Figures obtained last month by GPonline showed that more than 55,500 patients signed up with GP at Hand between November 2017 and January 2019 - but that more than one in four of these patients had since quit the service.

More than 46,000 patients are now registered with the digital first provider, of whom 85% are aged between 20 and 39 years of age. Babylon GP at Hand has denied claims of 'cherry picking' younger patients.

Hammersmith and Fulham CCG has not revealed details of the data issues holding up the report, but the interim report said researchers had found it difficult to evaluate the system-level cost of GP at Hand because negotiations over access to ‘necessary datasets’ were ongoing.

The researchers wrote that  'an evaluation with limited access to data and covering a short time period will not be able to provide definitive conclusions on whether Babylon GP at Hand is cost-effective or provides value for money but it will be able to provide information for decision makers to help them understand the impact of Babylon GP at Hand.

Data analysis

‘The quality of that information will depend upon the granularity of the data available for analysis.’

The full report is expected to evaluate the impact of GP at Hand on registered patients, including ‘the impacts on experience; cost and efficiency; equity; and as far as possible, safety and effectiveness’.

It will also look at its impact on the primary care workforce, considering the ‘potential effects’ of GP at Hand on staff, including ‘job satisfaction; pay; training, retention/recruitment/working patterns; workload; the patient/doctor interaction; and the wider primary care workforce’.

Impacts on the wider healthcare system are also expected to be covered - including ‘the impacts on other practices and their patients; CCG finances [and] referral pathways; overall demand and costs; productivity, efficiency and value’.

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