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The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has published the final report of a five-year research programme on the use of telehealth in primary care settings for patients with long-term conditions.

There is considerable optimism amongst policy-makers that telehealth could transform health care delivery, but researchers have concluded that while telehealth could provide some benefit to some patients, it is not a simple answer to a complex problem.

Despite policy pressure on GPs to offer consultations by email or internet video programmes such as Skype, few GPs do and most have no plans to introduce them in future, according to a new study.

A group of researchers from the Universities of Bristol, Oxford, Edinburgh and Exeter have received funding to investigate whether there are alternatives to face-to-face consultations that will not only reduce GP workload but also benefit patients.

A new study, published in The Lancet on 4 August, investigating the potential value of telephone triage for patients and the NHS, has concluded that it does not save money or reduce practice workloads.

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