Table 2

Studies of symptom checkers as part of an electronic consultation system

ReferenceStudy designSystem typeComparatorPopulation/sample
Carter et al 24
· Uncontrolled observational
Mixed-method evaluation
· Online webGP (subsequently known as eConsult)· Other
Investigate patient experience by surveying patients who had used webGP and comparing their experience with controls (patients who had received a face-to-face consultation during the same time period) matched for age and gender
· General population
General practices in NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group’s area
Cowie et al25
· Uncontrolled observational
6-month evaluation at 11 GP practices in Scotland
· Online eConsult, accessed via GP surgery websites. Service provides self-care assessment and advice, including symptom checkers; triage and signposting to alternative services; access to NHS24 (phone service) and e-consults allowing submission of details by email)· None· General population
Patients registered with participating GP practices
· Uncontrolled observational
Report of 6-month pilot study
· Online webGP (subsequently known as eConsult)· None· General population
NHS England7
· Uncontrolled observational
Analysis of data from four pilot studies together with data from other sources
· Multiple
Pilots featured NHS pathways (web based; West Yorkshire); (‘voice-activated avatar’; West Midlands); Espert 24 (Web-based; Suffolk) and babylon (app; North Central London)
· None
Authors stated that it was not appropriate to compare pilot sites because of differences in starting date, ‘footprints’ covered, method of uptake and underlying population
· General population
Nijland et al27
· Other
Online survey
· Online
Responses of interest relate to ‘indirect e-consultation’ (consulting a GP via secure email with intervention of a web-based triage system)
· None· General population
Patients with Internet access but no experience of e-consultation
  • GP, general practitioner; NHS, National Health Service.