Data from Consultant Connect has revealed the usage of its products soared by as much as 380% during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company has an enhanced advice and guidance platform which supports telephone and photo advice. GPs are able to choose a specialty and can then have an immediate call with a consultant or send a photo message to a specialty team.

This ensures patients get the right care and reduces unnecessary hospital visits.

Data, seen exclusively by Digital Health News, has revealed that from May to June 2020, the use of most services more than doubled compared to the same time last year.

For example, the use of dermatology rose by a colossal 384% while elderly care saw an increase of 269%.

Consultant Connect said it believes this increase in usage was driven by “by stepchange in acceptance of telemedicine tools and focused effort to avoid hospital visits where possible”.

Consultant Connect Data
Percent growth of Consultant Connect usage in May-Jun 2020 compared to May-Jun 2019

Jonathan Patrick, chief executive of Consultant Connect, said: “We knew from our conversations with GPs that they were using Consultant Connect to talk to specialists rather than sending patients to hospitals, so a jump in usage wasn’t that surprising.

“What did surprise us was the size of the surge – activity volumes have nearly trebled and have stayed at that level. The specialties that saw the biggest increases were also interesting: no surprise that elderly care, respiratory medicine and ENT were close to the top, but very surprising that cardiology and diabetes saw much more limited increases in activity, especially as they were both widely reported as risk factors.

“Dermatology saw the largest jump as GPs embraced technology to send photos supplied by patients to dermatology teams on Consultant Connect, another behaviour that has stuck.”

The data also revealed that, since Consultant Connect started its first project in June 2015, 66% of all calls have resulted in unnecessary hospital visits being avoided in the 60 months leading up to June 2020.

Patrick recently spoke to Digital Health about the explosion of interest the company has had since Covid-19 hit in a recent Spotlight feature.