GP consultations via Skype on the horizon

The days of Skyping or Facebooking the family doctor are almost upon us with a new telemedicine service where patients can avail of consultations via smart phone, computer, or tablet.

The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) said the new service means patients and doctors will be able to deal “with a wide range of medical issues, which make up the majority of health complaints seen in general practice, but without... having to make the trip to the practice”.

Project director, Dr Michael McConville, said it will be convenient for patients short on time as well as “particularly useful for those that are immobile and unwell, as it will mean that they will not have to leave their own home”.

According to the NAGP, “GP-Online” is at an advanced stage of development and will be formally unveiled at the Primary Care Partnership Conference and NAGP agm at the end of this month. The service is expected to be rolled out in the second quarter of the year.

The NAGP said in comparison with other telemedicine services, its offering is unique “as patients will be able to deal with their own GP — ensuring continuity of care”. Patients will be able to schedule an appointment with their GP through the app’s booking system.

If a physical examination or blood and other tests are subsequently needed, patients will be able to upgrade to a GP practice visit.

GP-Online will initially only be available for private appointments, but the association is hopeful it will be used for medical card appointments in the future.

The cost to patients will be set by each GP, but the NAGP said it is expected to be “considerably lower” than the current cost of an appointment.

The NAGP will have an approximate 50% stake in the new service with the balance being owned by participant GPs. It is anticipated that over 100 GPs will invest in the venture.


Lifestyle

SECOND Captains is one of the long-running success stories in Irish podcasting. Ostensibly a sports show led by Eoin McDevitt, Ken Early, and Ciarán Murphy, the former Off The Ball team from Newstalk launched the podcast in mid-2013. two Monday shows are offered for free, with Tuesday-Friday behind a Patreon subscriber model and dubbed ‘The World Service’. It has more than 11,500 subscribers.Podcast Corner: First-class podcasts from Second Captains

The incredible life of Ireland’s first celebrity chef has been turned into a play, writes Colette SheridanHow Maura Laverty cooked up a storm

Their paths first crossed on the top floor of the library at University College Cork in October 2010 when both were students there so Amy Coleman and Steven Robinson were delighted to retrace their footsteps on their big day.Wedding of the Week: College sweethearts open new chapter

Peter Dowdall reveals why all roads will lead to Tullow in County Carlow on February 1Snowdrop patrol: Why all roads will lead to County Carlow

More From The Irish Examiner