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Background: General practice is facing an unprecedented challenge in managing the consequences of the pandemic. In the midst of a policy drive to balance remote and in-person service provision, substantial workload pressures remain, together with increasing prevalence of long-term conditions, and declining staff numbers and morale. To address these challenges, some practices in the UK have been delivering video and hybrid group consultations (VHGCs). Despite positive initial findings and enthusiasm, there are still gaps in our understanding of the influence VHGCs have on patient experience, healthcare utilisation, quality, safety, equity and affordability. Objectives To generate an in-depth understanding of VHGCs for chronic conditions in general practice, surface assumptions and sociotechnical dynamics, inform practice and extend theorisation. Methods Mixed-methods, multi-site research study using co-design and participatory methods, from qualitative, quantitative and cost-related perspectives. WP1 includes a national, cross-sectional survey on VHGC provision across the UK. In WP2 we will engage patients and general practice staff in co-design workshops to develop VHGC models with emphasis on digital inclusion and equity. In WP3 we will carry out a mixed-methods process evaluation in up to 10 GP practices across England (5 sites already running VHGCs and 5 comparison sites). Qualitative methods will include interviews, focus groups and ethnographic observation to examine the experiences of patients, carers, clinical and non-clinical NHS staff, commissioners and policy-makers. Quantitative methods will examine the impact of VHGCs on healthcare utilisation in primary and secondary care, patient satisfaction, engagement and activation. We will also assess value for money of group and individual care models from a health economics perspective. Conclusions We aim to develop transferable learning on sociotechnical change in healthcare delivery, using VHGCs as an exemplar of technology-supported innovation. Findings will also inform the design of a future study.

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