eSTI2 has been investigating new methodologies for patient interaction within the healthcare system. The eSexual Health Clinic is the first of its kind in the NHS. The challenge has been to develop an online clinical service which is secure, safe, user friendly and compatible with existing NHS systems and regulations. It is not meant to replace traditional clinic-based care, but to work alongside it, so that users of the service can choose online or face to face care or a combination of both to best suit their needs.
Using a secure NHS log in, the Sexual Health Clinic web application includes an online medical consultation for those users with positive chlamydia results, leading to an electronic authorisation for antibiotics which they can collect at a high street pharmacy of their choice. The web app also enables the patients' sexual partners to get treatment quickly and easily in the same way. A clinical helpline is available for patients who need advice or support.
The online results service and clinic are currently being piloted in an exploratory trial involving patients from Barts Sexual Health Centre and six NCSP areas.