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Online GPs Could Save Employers £1.5 Billion In Lost Working Time Featured

Online GPs Could Save Employers £1.5 Billion In Lost Working Time

From banking and shopping to business and healthcare, our daily experiences are increasingly digital - and this has been accelerated all the more by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Digital health: the changing landscape of how we access GP services explores the scope for GPs to further embrace digitally delivered care. Whilst the pandemic has highlighted the commitment of those working in the healthcare sector, it also enables us to look at how innovation can better support patient demand. 

This AXA PPP healthcare report combines their own research with findings from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), to look at how offering online consultations not only benefits the healthcare sector, but also businesses and patients.

The findings show that UK businesses could have saved up to £1.5 billion annually in lost working time, had employees seen a GP via video or phone, rather than face-to-face in 2019. What’s more, patients could have seen a positive impact on their own wellbeing: 38% said they’d feel much better mentally as a result of the speed and ease of access of speaking to an online GP1.

Tracy Garrad, CEO at AXA PPP Healthcare commented on LinkedIn, "The coronavirus pandemic has shone a whole new light on how we access the products, services and support that help keep our every-day lives on an even keel.

It’s brought into sharp focus the dedication of those who work in health and care.

And, it has also highlighted the pressure faced by frontline workers, raising questions around how we meet this challenge – both now and in the future.

This is a complex issue, there’s no hiding from that. But there’s the real prospect that digital technologies could play a significant role in helping to ease this pressure, particularly in the world of general practice. 

The ability to do virtual GP consultations by phone or video isn’t a new concept by any means. Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a greater use of digital health services. However, outside of this current surge, the potential for online GP services to play a greater role in meeting people’s healthcare needs has been vastly unrealised.

Offering remote consultations as a first point of call in general practice, for example, could help increase practise capacity by reserving face-to-face consultations for those identified as needing them.

Here at AXA PPP healthcare we’ve just published a new report – Digital health: the changing landscape of how we access GP services – which explores the benefits to the healthcare sector and business of remote GP consultations.

Working with economic forecasting analyst, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), we’ve found that, if remote appointments had been offered as the first point of contact across all public GP practices in 2019, face-to-face consultations could have been reduced by 50 million. 

There are also clear benefits to businesses too. Remote GP appointments reduce the amount of time employees need to be out of the office to attend their GP’s practice, minimising journey and waiting times. Our findings reveal that UK businesses could have avoided £1.5 billion in lost working time in 2019 if, instead of attending face-to-face GP appointments, workers who needed to see a GP had used a remote (online or telephone) service.

Digital technology already touches so many areas of our lives, giving us speed of access and greater convenience that supports how we live our lives today. It’s now time to expand the digital horizon and realise the benefits this can bring to health and care – both for patients and business."

You can download the report here.

1. AXA PPP healthcare conducted omnibus research through 3Gem research between 13-17 February 2020, polling 2,000 UK adults (aged 18+), weighted to be nationally representative.

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