How and why are video consultations used in urgent primary care settings in the UK? A focus group study

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Background: Video consulting was widely rolled out across general practice at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the in-hours setting there has been a marked shift away from using the technology, but many urgent care clinicians continue to use video consulting. Little is known about the reasons behind this discrepancy. Aim: To understand how and why video is used in urgent care settings. Design & setting: Focus groups were held via Microsoft Teams with 11 GPs working in in- and out-of hours settings across the UK. Method: GPs were recruited through a convienience sampling strategy. Meetings were recorded, auto-transcribed, and checked for accuracy. A thematic analysis was performed. Results: Urgent care GPs used video as an adjunct to the telephone in the initial assessment of patients and felt it helped direct patients to the right service first time. They were confident using video for a broad range of presenting conditions. They felt it created additional trust and rapport with patients and was useful for bringing third parties into the consultation. They felt that it allowed them to maximise resources and use shielded colleagues effectively. They emphasised the importance of one-to one training and this was seen as vital for effective implementation within an organisation. Conclusion: Video consulting is useful in the urgent care setting as an adjunct to telephone consulting. It is particularly helpful in the initial triage of patients. One-to-one training is needed for effective implementation.




Payne, R. E., & Clarke, A. (2023). How and why are video consultations used in urgent primary care settings in the UK? A focus group study. BJGP Open, 7(3).

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