The short answer to the question is – I don’t know/ Depends.
Here is the context:
I had to chance to attend a talk organised by Cambridge Health Network on primary care in the UK (Primary care, the holy trinity: quality, commissioning and the front line). Full disclosure – my knowledge about the UK health system is very limited.
Most of the challenges faced in developed countries like UK seem alarmingly similar to the ones faced in the developing countries like India. Specially, with regards to primary care, every stakeholder – including the Department of Health, jobbing GPs, CCGs, provider networks, quality commissions, etc. – mentioned the following as the challenges:
1. Quality of care
2. Long patient waiting times
3. Role of GPs
4. Increase is the use of specialists even for simple cases
4. Poor infrastructure in the premises (I think they use the word ‘poor’ with a good measure of indiscretion)
It is oddly unsettling that all of these challenges are very similar to those in India.
With advent of protocol driven healthcare, and algorithms replacing the need for triaging, the method they have adopted is use of technology. This again is strangely similar to what is being done in developing countries, BUT with a distinct difference. UK seems to be trying to keep its patients away from hospitals (while keeping the quality of care consistent with standards) whereas countries such as India are trying to move towards institutionalised care (and ultimately, Universal Health Coverage).
So the question, once again, can you achieve different outcomes by doing the same thing?
One nice gentleman summarised the ideal model of healthcare in this way:
First Level of Care: Self-help (through technology and telemedicine)
Second Level of Care: Family & Community (through technology and networks)
Third Level of Care: GPs and Surgeries
Fourth Level of Care: Hospitals
Final Level of Care: Super speciality hospitals
Based on what I learnt from the audience in the room, this model of care is inevitable and there are a lot of companies working on the first and second level mentioned above (The Hurley Group and DrThom).