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Survey shows public support for digital healthcare appointments


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Public sentiment in the UK is moving in favour of more digital appointments for healthcare, according to a survey commissioned by BT.

It found that 75% of the 2,063 questioned over three days in June said they would prefer a digital consultation or diagnosis.

A number of factors are contributing to this. 48% said they would choose digital over face-to-face if it meant they could see a medical professional more quickly, 32% would welcome digital appointments if it meant they could seen outside of working hours, and 27% liked the idea of not having to leave their homes.

In addition, 19% said they are now frustrated if they are asked to visit a GP or hospital for an appointment that could be done remotely.

As part of this, 33% picked video and telephone consultations as one of the top three health technologies they would like to see prioritised.

On a broader front, 64% agreed that investing in technology is worthwhile for the NHS, 58% agreed that data and technology could make the service more effective in preventing illnesses, and 37% would support the use of AI in healthcare.

Embracing technology

Professor Sultan Mahmud, BT’s director of healthcare, commented: “The NHS is critically important to all of us, with a 75-year-strong track record of embracing new technology.

“However, as its challenges mount, we need to do more to make sure it’s equipped to keep up with patient demand.

“It’s clear from the research that the public recognises the link between technology and health. While technology alone can’t build more hospitals or train doctors and nurses, it can make the day-to-day experience of healthcare better for everyone – speeding up diagnosis and treatment, improving the experience of patients, freeing up time for frontline workers and helping budgets go further.”

The research was carried out by Opinium and was weighted to be politically and nationally representative, BT said.

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