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 January 2010 to February 2022 and included 63 studies from 9 countries covering 31 different OC systems. Twenty-six were published in 2020 onwards, 11 were post-COVID-19.
The researchers found that OCs can produce positive outcomes, such as increased access for patients. Equally however, they can have negative outcomes, such as increased workload for staff.
They discovered that these negative outcomes can be mitigated by appropriate OC system design (e.g. using free-text rather than MCQ formats), by incorporating advanced technologies (e.g. AI), and by integrating into technical infrastructure (e.g. EHRs) and organisational workflows (e.g. timely responses).
Darley S, Coulson T, Peek N, Moschogianis S, van der Veer S, Wong D, Brown B
Understanding How the Design and Implementation of Online Consultations Affect Primary Care Quality: Systematic Review of Evidence With Recommendations for Designers, Providers, and Researchers. J Med Internet Res 2022;24(10):e37436. URL: https://www.jmir.org/2022/10/e37436. DOI: 10.2196/37436