ZPB Associates runs the Directorate for the Digital Healthcare Council (DHC), a trade body for digital health and social care companies. The DHC advocates for an optimal operating environment for innovative companies to partner with the NHS, and part of our work with the council involves conducting in-depth analysis on various topics relating to the digital healthcare landscape.
Recent research by the DHC has found that partnering with digital health providers to deliver GP video consultations improves patient satisfaction and appointment uptake. Yet despite this, according to NHS data, less than 1% of GP consultations are currently occurring by video or online.
The DHC reviewed video consultation options offered by a random sample of 57 GP practices across 30 Primary Care Networks.
It found that patients were 20% more likely to rate their GP practice as good or outstanding when their practice had partnered with a third-party digital health provider. Additionally, patients registered to these practices were selecting video consultations more often. Each month, there was a three-fold increase in the number of times these online appointments were accessed.
These partnerships with digital health providers are not only benefitting patients. The DHC’s analysis found that these partnerships positively influenced the GP practice’s overall ratings.
GP practices that had partnered with a digital health provider had a higher Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) score (92%) compared to practices without this service (90%).
These higher QOF scores suggests that these partnerships were helping GP practices to address chronic conditions and treat public health problems – ultimately delivering higher-quality patient care.
The research challenges prevailing narratives in national media that online consultations are unfavourable with patients and lead to compromised care, and shows how beneficial online consultations can be. There is currently significant variation in the type of remote GP consultation offered as well as uptake across the UK. The DHC are continuing to advocate for an environment where effective digital solutions can be scaled so that more patients and practitioners can benefit from them.
To learn more about our work with the Digital Healthcare council, visit: www.digitalhealthcarecouncil.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
 https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/appointments-in-general-practice/december-2022  Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) online database - NHS Digital