Summary of report contentHealthwatch Enfield investigated patient's perspectives on the use of technology in primary care, specifically the use of the NHS symptom checker featured on a website or app, video calling and emailing to seek medical advice from a primary care physician, and GP online services. This was achieved by hosting 37 engagement events and collecting feedback via paper and online surveys between August and September 2018 from 1,071 local residents. The report found that 76% of people were aware of the online GP services in Enfield but use of the online services remained low. 63% of respondents indicated that they would use a trusted NHS website or an app to check their symptoms before seeking advice from their GP. In regard to having GP appointments via online services, 60% indicated they would use video calling services to consult with their primary care physician but this differed depending on age, with younger people more likely to use such services. 66% indicated they would email their GP to seek medical advice, however, again, younger respondents indicated they would email a GP to seek medical advice more than older respondents. Recommendations were made but it was noted that change will take significant time. This is because a patients who have a firmly rooted belief in face-to-face contact with primary care physicians will find the use of technology daunting. Consideration will also need to be given as to how the introduction of new technological solutions does not widen the health inequality gap by making access easier only for those who can afford the right equipment or who are computer literate. In addition, it was suggested that further exploration is required into the reasons behind the differences of views and habits of the various ethnic groups within Enfield, in order to ensure that the technological solutions work for all.
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Using technology to ease the burden on primary care
Date of publication
Tuesday, 22 January, 2019
Date evidence capture began
Monday, 6 August, 2018
Date evidence capture finished
Friday, 28 September, 2018
Type of report
Digitalisation of services
Healthwatch reference number
Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation?
Primary research method used
How was the information collected?
Primary care services
Number of people who shared their views
Specific ethnicity if known
Does the information include public's views?
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views?
Does the information include staff's views?
Types of health and care professionals engaged
Does the information include other people's views?
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views?
Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report?
Does the information contain a response from a provider?
Is there evidence of impact in the report?
Is there evidence of impact external to the report?