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Di-Facto - Facilitating access to online NHS primary care services

The study aims to understand how the use of internet-based services are advertised and supported in GP surgeries, considering the benefits and challenges of different approaches. It is a mixed methods study design consisting of four interlinked elements:

  1. a scoping review to characterise the different approaches to digital facilitation including their effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.
  2. a survey of 500 practices and 12,000 patients exploring current digital facilitation.
  3. a focused ethnography comprising case studies in general practice exploring the potential benefits and challenges associated with digital facilitations and interviews with stakeholders.
  4. A synthesis of learning from the work to develop a framework to inform future evaluations.

The project is a collaboration between the University of Warwick, University of Exeter and RAND Europe. The University of Warwick is leading the qualitative third element of the study. The project will recruit participants in Eastern England and North London, the South West, and the Midlands.

Funded by:

National Institute of Health Research

WMS research team members:

Dr Helen Atherton, Dr Carol Bryce, Dr Jo Parsons


University of Exeter - Prof John Campbell, Dr Gary Abel, Rachel Winder, Vivienne Shaw, Dr Emma Pitchforth, Dr Emma Cockcroft

Dr Jenny Newbould, RAND Europe


June 2020 – June 2022


Dr Helen Atherton

h dot atherton at warwick dot ac dot uk