DocAbode: Crowdsourcing Home Visits – the new Uber?

I really like this concept and app from GP Dr Taz Aldawoud from Leeds. If you are running any sort of primary care at scale this might be for you? It would work in hours, out of hours, across a small locality and across a large region. The concept is you crowdsource visits from GPs willing to do the odd one that’s near them in return for a one of payment. GPs register, download the app and when they are willing and able to do a home visit they mark themselves as on call. They might add some other information such as languages spoken, distance willing to travel, palliative care expertise etc. Visits that come in are sent to the on-call force using a clever algorithm that tries to match the visits to the right doctor. This might be the closest, the one who knows the patient, one who speaks the language or one who has particular skill in that problem. Of course, the app allows GPs to set a rate and the algorithm might favour the cheapest.

It’s a little like Uber but the visits aren’t requested by the patients – maybe that’s the next step? Maybe Babylon health and similar need to think of this concept for their private services.

A service might find it difficult to cover visits for a variety of reasons; The GP on shift is busy at the base, there are so many visits to do; some visits can take ages; for some, the travelling time is the difficulty. Practices that rely on locums often have issues with visiting in that a lot of locums will refuse to visit so perhaps there is a role in a locality or area or GP federation to run this as an overspill service?

I really like the modern concept and locally we have been thinking about could we use it just for palliative care. Our local hospital always states that out of hours they get disproportionately more attendances from palliative care patients even despite them having plans in place etc.

Some of this the local GP OOH is often stretched and people or sometimes carers panic and either call 999 or go to A&E. Now part of the reason the OOH is stretched is that few of the local workforce want to work in it especially after a hard day in the trenches. However, when asked a lot of the local GPs would visit their own or their nearby colleagues palliative patients. Indeed some already give out their personal and home mobiles.

Our idea is to use something like DocAbode to handle these. The local hospice might act as a call centre, they already have a 24/7 advice line. They put out the visit and the crowdsourced workforce will answer. Ok its highly reliant on there being enough signed up each evening and weekend. You also wonder if it could link to  ANPs etc who could do some of the visits.

As stated I could see it being used for routine home visits if only in its algorithms to work out who to see during the day – to keep it fair and to perhaps encourage working at scale if several practices in an area gang up to work together.

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