This, our first DHACA webinar, in search of silver linings to the Covid.19 pandemic, sought to honour a command sometimes attributed to Winston Churchill never to waste a terrible crisis.

The panel members were:

  • Guy Boersma, Managing Director Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network and Digital Health lead for the AHSN Network
  • Dr Keith Grimes, Clinical Innovation Director, Babylon Health
  • Des Holden Medical Director, Kent Surrey & Sussex Academic Health Science Network
  • Loy Lobo President of the Digital Health Section of the Royal Society of Medicine and CEO of Wegyanik
  • Harry Longman, CEO of askmyGP
  • Charles Lowe, CEO of DHACA, was the moderator

Key conclusions were:

  • Most patients have clearly embraced remote care eagerly, improving their access to care. Many GPs are also seeing huge financial and personal benefits from more effective patient processing. Even patients unwilling to go online are benefiting as GPs have more time to care for them.
  • GPs new to the technology are particularly surprised at how much more patients tell them online, improving subsequent diagnosis and care.
  • Some activities, like paper prescriptions or sickness notes will vanish; dramatic process time reductions are being achieved by eliminating paper, though there will be a challenge to hold some recently won territory once things return to normal.
  • A system-level change is needed to give Social Services adequate funding to be a vital link in improving patient flow through hospitals – in the short term, mislaid medicines will determine how well faster transfers of care can be carried out.
  • Industry has moved from foe to friend in record time: the relationship needs to be strengthened and made resilient to future shocks.
  • Although many rules have not, if ever, been justifiable as contributing to better patient outcomes, those covering safety, regulatory, and quality must be retained to enable a safe and responsive service; spoil that and all silver linings will vanish.
  • The next challenge will be converting the 1:1 ratio traditionally seen in clinician:patient interactions to 1:many.

A full recording of the event is here.

A summary of the discussions and conclusions is here.

DHACA is very grateful for sponsorship by the AHSN Network.