This study in the British Journal of General Practice aims to identify and understand the unintended consequences of online consultations in primary care. The authors interviewed 19 patients and 18 general practice staff at eight general practices using online consultation tools in South West and North West England between February 2019 and January 2020.
The study found the following unintended consequences of online consultation:
- Creation of difficulties for some patients in communicating effectively with a GP.
- The system disadvantaged digitally-excluded patients.
- Patient uncertainty about how their queries were dealt with, and whether practices used online consultations as their preferred method for patients to contact the practice.
- Creation of additional work for some staff.
- Isolation and dissatisfaction for some staff.
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