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EMIS practices to offer online consultations

By Steve Nowottny

Practices across the country who use the GP system supplier EMIS will soon be able to offer patients online consultations for chronic conditions, it was announced this week.

The Marple Cottage Surgery in Stockport has already piloted the internet-based service for around 80 asthma patients, with regular reviews from home, and is now working with a similar service for diabetes patients.

Online consultations for a range of chronic conditions are to be offered to additional EMIS practices for beta testing and will then be rolled out nationally as part of the EMIS Access service.

To complete an online consultation, patients are asked to fill in a template questionnaire about their chronic condition which is then sent securely to a practice nurse or asthma lead at their practice.

Johan Taylor, practice manager at the Marple Cottage Surgery, said: ‘The asthma monitoring service has been popular with patients, helping towards significant overall improvements in our asthma management, and convincing us of the benefit to monitor other conditions.'

‘While it frees up appointment times for the practice, the service is hugely beneficial for the patient as it engages them directly with their own healthcare.

EMIS managing director Sean Riddell said: ‘This is a fantastic example of a forward-thinking practice and IT supplier working together to develop innovative technology that can be used widely to benefit patients. A number of practices have expressed an interest in the service and we are looking forward to working with them.'

EMIS' announcement follows Pulse's revelation last November that Connecting for Health is working on a similar ‘Communicator' project, which will allow patients to directly email their GP through the Healthspace website.

In addition to helping with the management of long-term conditions, Communicator - which will be piloted from April - may also be used for repeat prescription requests, to triage demand for appointments and for other secure communications with patients.

EMIS practices will be able to offer online consultations

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