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'High demand' for online GP services

'High demand' for online GP services

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A survey suggests a strong demand for booking GP appointments online among both patients and health professionals.

In a poll of more than 1,700 visitors to health information site www.patient.co.uk, 85% said they would like to be able to book GP appointments online, and 87% said they would use an online service to order repeat prescriptions.

Additionally, 91% of the patient survey participants said they would use an online tool that allowed them to identify the side effects of drugs and 90% would use an online symptom-checker tool.

The survey also questioned more than 1,000 health professionals (51% of whom had authority to prescribe) with results almost identical to the public respondents (with 88% in favour of online ordering of repeat prescriptions and 86% supporting online appointment booking).

Almost half of respondents (47%) were over 55, suggesting the online demand among the public is not limited to younger patients.

The survey was conducted among an online audience, suggesting respondents were already willing to engage with internet services.

However, older health professionals appear more reluctant, with only 11% of the over-55s backing online GP services.

Neil Laycock, Director of Patient Services at Egton Medical Information, said: "The survey results are interesting as they show that patients and doctors share a similar appetite for online services that can benefit both.

"They can help patients play a more active role in their own healthcare, and cut down on phone calls and administration time for busy practices."

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"As a semi-rural practice we offer online services including prescription ordering, appointment booking, a change of address service and online records viewing. Our patients are very keen to make use of the facilities as it allows them to access services when we are closed and frees the telephones for those patients with urgent calls or for whom online services are not appealing. As we make more use of online services, patients will be able to take more interest and responsibility for their own care, and have a wider understanding" – Name and address withheld

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