CF was commissioned by South East London Digital Accelerator Programme to evaluate an eHub pilot of collective delivery of GP online consultations by Brixton and Clapham Park PCN. The conclusions and recommendations will support decision making as GP online consultation models are established elsewhere.

 

  • Independent evaluation of providing GP online consultations as a group of practices working together (an eHub) as opposed to providing them through a single practice model
  • Conclusions on which type of practices benefit most from the eHub model
  • A set of recommendations for implementing the eHub model and online consultations in general

Issue: Lack of evaluation of eHub as an implementation model

The effectiveness of online consultations in primary care has been evaluated previously, however, there has never been a full evaluation of the eHub model compared to the single practice model. As such, primary care practices and PCN’s have little evidence to inform which model to choose and what to consider as part of the implementation.

Solution: Independent evaluation of the eHub pilot

CF completed a comprehensive evaluation of the Brixton and Clapham Park eHub pilot to assess the relative benefits and challenges of an eHub compared to a single practice model. The evaluation also included the effectiveness of online consultations in general for this specific population and, having been in progress during the first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, provided evidence of how COVID impacted the eHub system.

Methodology: Multiple data sources were utilised to conduct a comprehensive evaluation

The evaluation covered inputs, processes and impacts of the eHub model as set out below.

The evaluation drew on multiple data sources:

  • Quantitative analysis of eHub activity demonstrated how the eHub was used during the course of the pilot including after the COVID outbreak, for example, eHub activity, outcomes of eHub consultations, demand for Allied Health Professionals, impact on waiting times and demographics of eHub users
  • Quantitative analysis of eHub costs demonstrated the scale of potential savings by sharing them across the PCN
  • Patient experience surveys provided qualitative data on patients’ perspectives on the new service and how it had altered how they had interacted with primary care
  • Staff experience surveys and staff interviews gathered perspectives on the benefits and challenges of operating the eHub, including during the COVID response

One of the practices had been operating online consultations as a single practice prior to the eHub pilot meaning it was used as a comparator, where possible.

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Criteria

Results: Evidence to inform future online consultation model choices

Our evaluation led to conclusions on the relative benefits and challenges for different archetypes of practice which can support decision making as online consultations are expanded further within South East London. In addition, we provided a set of recommendations for implementing both eHub systems and online consultations in general which will further support future expansion efforts. A copy of our report can be found here.

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