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.
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):
"Good for future IT development and putting onus on patients to be involved and be responsible for their own healthcare and i am sure will reduce non attender appointment. I am not quite sure how this will assist those who are capable but not motivated enough to do things for themselves. And of course there may well be the arguement that those less able will be disadvantaged" – V Henry, London
"We have done this, and the uptake has been poor – about 50 uses per month. Seeing as we have 6,000 patients, and about 600 registered for the service, I wonder if it was worth the bother!" – Nigel Kenward, Lincolnshire