Table 4

Suggested improvements to implement the e-consultation system

Issues identified with touchpoint 1: patient decides to fill in an e-consultation formSuggested technological improvements
Patients suggested several ways to improve system usability, such as: allowing patients to consult with multiple symptoms for both new and existing conditions; the ability to upload photographs; being able to nominate a preferred GP; simplifying language and an administration channel for requests such as a fit note or test resultsSoftware developers have implemented these improvements to the system in its ongoing development40
Practice staff suggested that the system could encourage more use of pharmacy or self-help options where appropriateBetter signposting to pharmacy and self-help options on website interface
Promoting patients to use e-consultations for simple conditions and questions to save face-to-face appointmentsAppropriate patient signposting on when to complete an e-consultation
Reducing patient e-consultation usage when they need a diagnosis about new, complex and multiple symptomsAppropriate patient signposting on when not to complete an e-consultation but to directly book a face-to-face appointment to save practice staff work duplication
Reducing the use of the e-consultation system to directly access face-to-face appointmentsSignposting to discourage patient use of the system if they want a face-to-face appointment