British patients want NHS to use more technology

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More than two-thirds of British adults (68%) believe the National Health Service should use technology more to increase efficiency and improve patient outcomes.

That is according to a survey based on online research carried out by YouGov on behalf of technology firm Trustmarque, which revealed that 96% of respondents out of 2,010 people polled, stated they either did not have online access to all of their health records, or were unaware of whether they did or not.

The research also revealed that 39% said they or someone they knew had to provide health professionals (such as GPs, pharmacists and hospital workers) with the same medical information on more than one occasion in the last 12 months. Over a quarter (28%) stated they or someone they knew had experienced a delay in receiving care due to health professionals not sharing information.

Trustmarque noted that at a time when missed GP appointments have been estimated to cost in excess of £162 million each year and 6.9 million outpatient hospital appointments are missed annually, “it is clear that technology can play a role in helping reduce this number”. When asked how they receive appointment reminders, 32% said they received them by text, 25% were reminded on the phone and 22% received reminders in the post.

Only 5% said they received reminders via email and when asked how they would prefer to receive them, 58% of respondents said text message, followed by email (36%), phone (20%) and post (17%).

The survey revealed that only 10% of British adults had used a mobile health app, while 76% thought the NHS should offer or approve health apps. Booking appointments (47%), managing prescriptions (42%) and diet/exercise tracking and advice (38%) were cited as the most popular services that should be offered via a mobile app, while 81% said they would like to see more connected and wearable devices in healthcare.

Angelo Di Ventura, director at Trustmarque, said that “implementing and managing the technology that underpins the transformation of the NHS is no simple task. Data should be available in different formats, for different users in different locations. However, many NHS systems have not been set up for this type of access”.