'Patients don’t want online consultations and video diagnosis'

doctor using a laptop
"If we continue to promote the use of apps as a way to save the NHS we run the risk of marginalising the most at risk members of society."
story highlights: 
  • Online GP diagnosis and video consultations have been heralded by some as the way to save the NHS. This has led to savvy entrepreneurs drawing inspiration from America and recent months have seen an influx of multiple subscription apps, which offer patients convenient online consultations with qualified GPs.
  • Following on from these launches Pryers Solicitors decided to ask the general public if they would be interested in using an online app in place of a visit to their local doctor’s surgery. Over 68% of respondents said they would not.
  • Overall the feelings for this new technology were negative, with the over 65s age group proving the least keen with a whopping 85% of respondents indicating they would not use an app. 

YORK, UK - (HealthTech Wire / News) - Following on from the launch of the new smart phone app Dr Now, which is the latest in a line of UK start-up apps offering online GP diagnosis, Pryers Solicitors have asked patients across the United Kingdom if they would use an online consultation service, and a staggering 68% of respondents said no.

Declared by some as a way to take some of the strain off a struggling NHS, it would appear that budding entrepreneurs are drawing inspiration from the United States, as recent months have seen the launch of multiple online doctor apps. Promising to revolutionise the way UK patients' access their doctors, these apps offer online video consultations with qualified GPs all for a small fee.

Medical negligence specialists Pryers Solicitors were interested in whether or not prospective patients would use these sort of apps and so asked people from across the UK: ‘Would you use an app that offers immediate consultations and diagnosis/medication via video with qualified GPs?’ The majority, over 68%, of the respondents indicated that they would not use these apps. Pryers Solicitors looked into the responses even further, breaking down the results by age and sex, and discovered that it was a universal no. Gender nor the age of the respondents affected the results, the overwhelming sentiment was negative, and that was before the respondents were informed they would have to pay for this service.

The research also revealed the over 65s were even less keen on taking on this new technology with a worrying 85% of over 65s saying they would not use an online doctor. 

Massive savings opportunity

Aimed very much at people on the go, these apps offer convenience and a service when you want without the hassle of having to sit around in the doctor’s waiting room. The Dr Now App even takes it one step further and very clearly targets employers on their website. Here they are keen to promote the benefits of using this app not only to prospective patients, but to employers who they claim can effectively save over £9bn a year from the cost of employee absence due to doctor visits and sickness.

Of course there will be a fee to use the online services. Dr Now charges subscribers a monthly fee of £4.99 for adults, £3.99 for children for unlimited diagnosis or users can pay for a one off appointment at a cost of £29. Babylon offers the same pricing structure however they do not advertise a reduced cost for children. For this users receive a video consultation with a qualified GP followed by a prescription and/or medication delivery to either their home or work place.

Push Doctor works slightly differently charging £25 for a 10 minute consultation with the option to extend the consolation for an additional fee and on top of that there is a further fee if a prescription is needed. 

'Surprising results'

Jenny from medical negligence and personal injury claims specialists Pryers Solicitors said:

 “We were a little surprised by these results, we did expect that people may take a little convincing to use these apps, but to see it was such a strong 'no' across all age ranges and genders is surprising. It is particularly worrying when you consider that 85% of the over 65 age group said 'no' to using these apps, as these are the people who are more likely to need a doctor’s help. If we continue to promote the use of apps as a way to save the NHS we run the risk of marginalising the most at risk members of society.”

She continued:

 “And of course our question didn’t even take into account the fact that users are expected to pay for this service. Remote or recorded consultations with an attached fee have their limitations. Many members of the public will be unable to afford this service and all patients who have serious concerns about their health should physically go and see their doctor. This will always be the best way of assessing someone’s health needs.”

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Source: HealthTech Wire

Pryers Solicitors

Pryers Solicitors are a York based legal firm who specialise in medical negligence and personal injury claims. Pryer pride themselves on taking a highly personalised approach to all their cases, and ensure they put their clients at the heart of everything they do. Unlike other firms, you will not find Pryers representing insurance companies or employers, instead they fight for the people who need it more and will happily offer advice and support even if they can’t take the claim forwards.

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