Skype to host online patient-doctor consultations
The medical director of the NHS in the UK has announced plans for patients to have a consultation with their GP or doctor via Skype.
Sir Bruce Keogh is planning to use the online communication service to make the NHS more technologically advanced and more convenient for patients to use.
This comes after medical professionals were urged last week to submit their ideas for future health apps for smartphones.
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Keogh said integrating Skype with NHS services will enable patients to have face-to-face consultations with specialists anywhere in the country.
He discussed his visions with The Times newspaper, saying: “I am looking at how we can put levers into the system to encourage doctors to do online consultations.
“Once you have online consultations, it breaks down geographical boundaries; it opens up the spectre of 24/7 access.”
Meanwhile, the chief executive of the Patients’ Association, Katherine Murphy, commented: “There is scope for initiatives like this.
“If you child has a rash, your GP could look at it and say 'you need to come in' or 'you need to go to hospital'. It may speed up the process.”
However, she added: “We would be concerned that it could translate to more frustration for patients.
“People are already concerned that they are spending less time with their GP and we wouldn't want this to be a way of reducing that further.
“It should always be the choice of the individual.”