Bring me my online GP consult, my future robot triage; ministry, bring me Babylon!

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Bring me my online GP consult, my future robot triage; ministry, bring me Babylon!

Lucy O'Hagan photo

Lucy O'Hagan

London tube
Promotion of the digital health service GP in Hand, provided by Babylon Health, is widespread in London

Just wondering: Lucy O’Hagan shares her thoughts on disruptor Babylon, and is enticed by the digital future it offers

My only concern is that when Babylon sets up shop here, it won’t want to employ old-fogey doctors like me The chief medical officer of Babylon He


Funny sort of practice where 60% of GP consultations do not need face to face contact - certainly does not apply to my practice where pressure on appointments is so great that anything that can reasonably be dealt with by reception, nurses, counsellor, phone or fax is already done that way. People who do not come in do not get weighed or have their BP measured or get the holistic attention that face-to-face contact enables. Nor can we provide WINZ or ACC certificates for people who have not been seen. We would be back to old fashioned reactive rather than proactive care. Not, I think, an improvement. 

Lucy just remember to take your protein pills and put your helmet on.....

There a risk though that if we ignore the innovators we'll be left managing only the complex multi morbidity patients.  We need to embrace technology, work together as a sector or corporate general practice will structure themselves towards our youth and young families.  Give it ten years and the relationship our patients (and us clinicians) won't have been created.  

Thank you, Lucy a great reflection on Babylon and Jamie for your pragmatic response.

The GP-patient relationship remains central to the healing process and needs to be preserved in the new digital model of general practice.

Innovations like Babylon, Zoom Health. iMoko and Lance O'Sullivans portacabins for the unattached cannot be dismissed or avoided.

They need evaluation and new models of funding to prevent undermining the mainstream service delivery.

This will give the mainstream time to learn and adapt.

Patients + knowledge+choice become consumers and their choices will start to shape the future of healthcare delivery.

It cannot be left to DHBs, PHOs or the Ministry of Health, the process for adoption of innovation is too slow.

New Models of care will be marketed directly to patients and their response will shape the nature of service delivery.

General practice in New Zealand is responsive to patients and their choices.Now is  a good time to examine the innovations and for practices to choose which ones to incorporate into their business models for their future digital health practices.



I love this generation. We think we are early adopters when we finally cotton on to technologies our children (or grandchildren in some cases) have long since abandoned. Babylon is so 2012. Why don't you all install OBS and then you can live-stream on Twitch or Mixer or something? Then you can play Fortnite and appeal to the intellect of the Minister (and bring down domestic violence rates at the same wait), or Fallout76 to appeal to Ministry (yeah, nobody is watching that either) or maybe No Man's Sky to be like College (yeah, we'll fix it and all will be good....where did everybody go?) Your patients can sign up to you on Patreon and your really keen ones you could let them join your Discord channel. The others can just tip you on stream when they want to ask you a question. You could be really cool and put your system details in your stream thumbnail (like you've got RTX2080Ti's in SLi - although I don't know why). Instant gratification and entertainment at the same time....although I'm not too sure about quality healthcare. Now maybe Ministry or the DHB will give me some money so I can afford to get an RTX2080 Ti.....

Hi Lucy

Some good posts and comments been coming along these changes in models of care. Sadly I missed the Dunedin presentation, but I did my own one at GPCME last wek looking at changes we need to prepare for.

Just on the symptom checkers, they are still rubbish IMHO. I went through the Babylon triage of someone with headache... (And had similar results from and microsoft bots)


I asked a few friends what to do if I have the worst headache ever, a fever, a purple non blanching rash, vomiting, a stiff neck and am slipping in and out of consciousness. My friends, not being remarkably stupid, all said call 111 or get to hospital ASAP. The cutting edge Babylon checker just kept asking more questions (was I dizzy, did I have a sore throat, am I stressed, (no I was dead by this time...) etc etc). As a past medical director for healthline, I can tell you that chatbot would have been off the phones and a rigorous review of previous calls and training would be made...


Anyway, lots of things we need to prepare for (I'm keen on doing some virtual consults to supplement my income while skiing in Whistler...), but the AI still has a way to go.