That situation is now reversed with telephone, text-based and (to a lesser extent) video being used for over 80% of consultations in Primary Care.
As the pandemic subsides it is unlikely that the situation will revert to pre-Covid levels. Remote consultations are going to be a big part of our clinical lives for the foreseeable future. This is not all bad. As the Centre for Health Communication Research states:
“barriers which have been in place for years, preventing things like online communications, rapidly fell away when the lockdown kicked in”.
1 Those barriers arguably held back progress, denying patients access to the convenience and potentially empowering effects of remote consultations. This is not to say that face-to-face interactions with patients are going away – they will still have a vitally important place in primary care.
Certain conditions can only be fully assessed by the laying on of hands and whilst it is possible to express empathy by remote technology, sometimes the human touch is the only way to soothe a troubled patient.