Find myself agreeing with McKinsey (a bit…)

A report arrived this week, 18 months old but just dug up by Digital Health through an FoI.  It’s a McKinsey presentation to DH, airily tossing round a few billion savings here and there.  If you say it confidently enough you might even believe it.

But then under Primary Care Efficiency on p14 I found a bit I actually agreed with.

Large potential benefit is achievable primarily via channel shift

– Avoided GP consultations and home visits via e-triage, telephone triage, physician web messaging and teleconsultations may lead to substantial benefits”

Hello.  We’ve been saying this for 4 years.  They put £1.2 - £2.8bn savings on it, I suppose they know.

But on page 11 they have it in the “high saving, medium difficulty” box.  Here’s my edit:  move it to “high saving, low difficulty“.

I’ve just updated the evidence from Rydal practice in N London, over 9,000 online submissions to date, around 45% of GP demand.  With an unchanged level of demand, face to face GP appointments are 500 per month lower this year.

Can’t be that difficult.  A lady, 65, wrote yesterday “First time I have used this service, and it all seemed quite straight forward.”

The fundamental change is to think demand-led.  Technology then becomes an enabler, allowing 2/3 of demand to be resolved remotely, and that’s where the savings are made.

I’m talking about this in a free webinar, next Thursday 19/11, 8-9pm.  Click the link to register now, “Understanding demand, the key to better service and lower stress”, it’s CPD certified through Webinars for GPs.

McKinsey go on to recommend how the channel shift should be made to happen.  They suggest “reducing availability of non-digital channels”.  I’d be interested in your views.

Dr Sara Cowell

PS This patient has a chest infection, common for the time of year.  He created this history by answering a few questions online with askmyGP.  Does he need to come in, coughing on other patients, or how would you choose to help?  How long did it take to decide, versus taking the history in person?

3 responses to “Find myself agreeing with McKinsey (a bit…)”

  1. Dr Baldwin says:

    Feasible but IT system need to be upgraded for GP practices to meet the demands
    Need to consider elderly population who may not be able to use technology
    Opening this option, require to reduce exiting face to face option to keep balance on GP workload

    • Dr Sara Cowell says:

      Agree that the system needs to work as a whole but we are seeing this already working. Many of the patients are elderly, though all patients should continue to have the option of phoning in. We must not discriminate against those unable to use internet.
      The demand question is interesting: evidence shows that there is no more, it is a change of channel happening on its own so embrace it and the need for face to face drops.

  2. Will Howe says:

    Sounds too good to be true. We will no doubt investigate this - how does the email Q&A get recorded & blended quickly into the pateint record?

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