The geography of large and relatively underpopulated countries like Australia makes it attractiveto use increasingly cheap information technology to improve access to general practitioners. People arealready using the internet to access many other services. However, there are some moderating influenceson the use of video-consultations in general practice. These include technical limitations,patient confidentiality concerns, regulatory issues as well as the willingness of general practitioners toconsult patients other than face-to-face. Theories predict that a relatively small cadre of innovativedoctors are those most likely to try video-consultations for routine consultations. However, much will depend on research that demonstrates that video-consultations are unlikely to harm patients or increase the risk of litigation; on the scope toincorporate diagnostic equipment on home computers; on the financial incentives offered to doctors and on the public proclamations of opinion leaders on the question of video-consultations.
Moyez Jiwa, Sara Asteljoki, Georgina Pagey