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Scottish patients support greater use of tech

04/07/19

Mark Say Managing Editor

NHS patients in Scotland would like it to make much greater use of digital technology, according to a committee of MSPs.

Stethoscope on iPad

The Health and Sport Committee has highlighted the findings from research – taking in a survey of 3,685 people and three public panels – as part of its new report on the future of primary care in the country.

Three priorities emerged from the panels: a single set of records integrated across all services; the ability to contact health professionals by email, schedule appointments online and hold consultations via video; and the ability to share data from wearables and health monitoring technology with relevant professionals.

The survey showed widespread report for sharing data at 77%, while almost 80% would use wearable devices and 86% were happy for their notes to be shared across a primary care team.

Almost 90% of survey respondents were happy to use technology to order repeat prescriptions, 82% to make appointments online, and 76% to receive test results digitally.

It was notable that only a small majority of 52% said they would be happy with a video consultation.

The only suggestion meeting a negative response was to use digital resources to obtain a diagnosis, which attracted lower than 40% support.

Focus on prevention

On a broader front, the report shows support for the idea of a greater focus on prevention rather than treatment, including the introduction of a universal health MOT, and for a more flexible and streamlined appointment system. People also wanted more easily accessible information about services and regarded mental health as a priority.

Lewis Macdonald, convenor of the Health and Sport Committee, said: “We decided to put members of the public at the centre of this discussion and it’s clear from what we’ve been told that the public are well informed, insightful and passionate about the future of primary care in Scotland.

“The public clearly have an appetite for change and retaining the status quo is not an option.

“For the second part of our inquiry, the committee will take these findings to health professionals and seek their response before we make our final recommendations to Parliament.”

Image by Marco Verch, CC BY 2.0 through flickr

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