Would you video call your doctor? One in five said they would prefer video appointments over GP visits
PUBLISHED: 10:48 13 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:13 13 February 2019
Patients in Norfolk and Waveney could soon be chatting to their GP on an app on their mobile phone instead of having to make a face-to-face appointment.
Some 30 practices in the area have already expressed an interest in a new IT system which will allow the consultations to go ahead, and it could be available as early as this summer.
Online consultations involve patients contacting their GP surgery securely by using its websites or even an app.
Their message is read and passed to the right member of staff to deal with, such as a pharmacist, nurse, therapist or GP.
In some cases the patient can be helped or advised by responding securely online - otherwise they might be asked to go in for a face to face appointment or to pick up medicines.
It comes as a survey revealed one in five workers in East Anglia said they would rather use telemedicine services than visit their GP.
A study of 2,000 UK workers by Willis Towers Watson (WTW) found that 20pc of workers in the region would rather go online and use video links to access GP services, such as medical advice.
Nationally, the research found that younger workers were more likely than their older cohorts to use telemedicine.
Some 41pc of employees aged 18 to 24 said they would prefer to use digital GPs, compared to just 16pc of those aged 55 and over.
IT infrastructure in Norfolk and Waveney is not good enough to support video consultations at the moment.
But The Hollies practice, in Downham Market, is already offering patients consultations via messages through their website, in a service called AskMyGp.
The system allows people to submit a message which is managed during surgery opening hours. Patients receive a response online or by telephone or appointment.
A spokesman for the Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) said: “Patients who have used the service have provided feedback on their experiences and since the launch, data shows a satisfaction rate of 93pc, with patients agreeing that this new service has improved contact with the practice and patients are very pleased that a system is in place that suits their needs.”