20220401 April Quin Blog Final
 

To see a doctor or not to see a doctor?

April 2022 ● 5 mins reading time


     

By: Eric Luiten and Dayenne Ubachs, both general practitioners and working in Quin’s Medical Content Team

Suppose a man of forty has back pain without any alarming symptoms. How can he find out what is wrong and whether he should see a doctor? Googling the complaints is an option, but the results are not always reliable. An important part of the Quin app is the symptom checker which allows you to check your own health complaints 24/7. With reliable advice as a result. The symptom checker is offered in cooperation with Ada Health. Quin general practitioners Eric Luiten and Dayenne Ubachs explain further.

Why does the Quin app have a symptom checker?

Eric: ‘We know that seven out of ten people use Google to look up their physical complaints. And we also know people don’t always come across the most reliable sources, which leads to a lot of distress and phone calls to the practice. Therefore, there’s a clear need for reliable and personal medical information and the option to check your symptoms whenever you want. But the symptom checker is also there for the general practitioner who’s inundated with healthcare questions. A recent study showed that seventy-four per cent of GPs are struggling with excessive workloads. And assistants, too, see the constant stream of telephone calls as a negative aspect of their work.’

Dayenne: ‘With the symptom checker, which is embedded in a medical platform with other digital solutions, patients have immediate insight into their symptoms and are quickly guided to the right care, such as a video consultation. In this way, we not only give patients more tools, but we can also better streamline the care.’

Why do you work with Ada Health?

Dayenne: ‘Ada has been working on their symptom checker for over eleven years and has done so with fifty medical experts, among others. Behind the symptom checker is advanced artificial intelligence, which enables it to immediately display a list of possible causes with advice on whether you should see your GP and how urgent it is. If necessary, you can use the app to make an appointment for a (video) consultation.’

 

"Ada’s results are incredibly good if you compare them to other symptom checkers. In fact, it is the best-tested symptom checker at the moment."

Eric Luiten
GP and Medical Content Lead at Quin

Eric: ‘Ada’s results are incredibly good if you compare them to other symptom checkers. In fact, it is the best-tested symptom checker at the moment. Research shows a very high degree of accuracy of the urgent-care advice given by Ada compared to the advice given by GPs and safe urgent-care advice in ninety-seven per cent of cases.’

Can the symptom checker improve the conversation with my doctor?

Eric: ‘Going through the symptom checker as a preparation for your appointment with the GP can ensure that those conversations can proceed more quickly. When you have an appointment with your GP, they first ask you a number of standard questions. With the symptom checker, these standard questions have already been covered. If you then give your GP permission to view the symptom checker’s symptom report, they can read and prepare themselves properly before your consultation. Just like you do, by the way. This creates space to talk about treatments, personal preferences and life situations. That space is unfortunately often lacking nowadays.’

What is the added value for the general practice?

Eric: ‘In England, Ada asked over 500 people at walk-in consultations to fill in the symptom checker. Afterwards, 12.8 per cent of the participants said that they would not have gone to the consultation if they had used the symptom checker beforehand. That 12.8 per cent already creates a lot of room to breathe for the practice and can ensure that you, as a GP, don’t fall behind and spend the rest of the day in a rush. That makes a big difference to job satisfaction, the flow in the practice and the quality of healthcare. The patient has to wait less and notices that the GP can take more time for them during the consultation. We expect to be able to confirm these findings through our own research in Dutch practices.’

Dayenne: ‘Almost half of the people who call GP out-of-hours services get self-care advice. If the symptom checker were to highlight these self-care recommendations, it could potentially reduce the number of telephone consultations with GP out-of-hours services by some twenty per cent. That would really mean a lightening of the GP care load.’

What would you say to people who are wary of digital solutions like the symptom checker?

Eric: ‘Patients who want to can opt for this digital solution, for example, if they are unsure whether they should call their GP directly or not. Of course, it remains a personal choice. As a GP, you are there to help and support all types of patients. In fact, thanks to solutions such as the symptom checker, there’s more time for that.’

Dayenne: ‘We are GPs ourselves and know how important healthcare with a human touch is. That old, trusted phone call to the practice will therefore always be possible. But digital tools are an enormously valuable addition in combination with your GP.’

 

Want to know more about the symptom checker? Read more on this page.

About Quin

At Quin, we use technology to give patients greater self-autonomy. We do this with our platform, on which we bring patients and medical experts together. With a mix of digital solutions, we support both during the entire healthcare process: from complaint to diagnosis, treatment and aftercare. For the right care in the right place at the right time.