The PATCHS research team at The University of Manchester have conducted the largest ever systematic review of research into Online Consultations (OCs). They looked at evidence published from 2010 to November 2021 and included 62 studies from nine countries covering 30 different OC systems. Twenty-six were published in 2020 onwards, 11 were post-COVID-19.
They found that OCs can produce positive outcomes such as increased access for patients, though can also have negative outcomes such as increased workload for staff. However, they also found that these negative outcomes can be mitigated by appropriate OC system design (e.g. using free-text rather than MCQ formats), incorporating advanced technologies (e.g. AI), and integration into technical infrastructure (e.g. EHRs) and organisational workflows (e.g. timely responses).
The systematic review is available to read as a pre-print here. A pre-print means the results haven't been peer-reviewed yet. We will publish a link to the published paper when it's available in a scientific journal.