712 people completed our Digital Access to Healthcare Survey from August to November 2021. We wanted to understand more about people’s experiences of accessing health services and information online and having appointments remotely via telephone and video call.
- Some people told us that it is more convenient and saves time, in particular being able to order repeat prescriptions online and having GP appointments without having to visit the practice.
- However, 16% of respondents told us they do not use the internet and many people experienced difficulties using functions on digital devices, such as sending photographs and making video calls.
- Some people had also struggled with the process of setting up and using online systems for GP access and in some cases they were not able to use functions they would like or felt the process could be simplified.
- Only 27% of respondents told us they would find it easy to discuss health concerns via phone or video call.
- Many people would prefer face-to-face appointments, saying that remote appointments lack personal interaction and make communication difficult. Some people expressed concerns about the ability to diagnose patients remotely.
- People had concerns about the privacy, confidentiality and security of accessing services online. Many found it difficult to have a private space to have a conversation via telephone or video call.
- Online access and remote appointments were especially difficult for: older people; people with a disability, including learning disability, Autism and hearing and visual impairment; people with long term conditions including Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Dementia and those who have experienced a stroke; people with mental health issues; people experiencing homelessness or on lower incomes; and those for who English is not their first language.
The report and summary below contain our findings, conclusions and recommendations for local health services.
System response, on behalf of health services in Worcestershire, to the report recommendations –