The digital healthcare revolution

Healthy Living > Physical health > The digital healthcare revolution

Blog Article | By Simplyhealth 11 February 2022

How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we approach healthcare?

The global COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on our lives. Not only has the threat of the virus, combined with various ‘lockdowns’ shifted the ways in which we socialise and work; but also, the way we seek help for our health concerns from GPs and other healthcare professionals.

At a time when health became the top priority for many in the UK, our healthcare services were put under strain like never seen before! In a bid to maximise resource, alleviate pressure on NHS services and create a COVID-safe environment in which people could seek the advice and healthcare they needed, the digital healthcare revolution was accelerated.   

Woman having video call with doctor on laptop at home

Virtual appointments

It is estimated that in the UK, phone and video GP appointments rose from 13% in late 2019 to 48% during the pandemic’s first wave peak between April to June 20201. Forced to limit visitors to doctors’ surgeries and hospitals to only those strictly necessary, many appointments were done over the phone or via video. Although an adjustment to the way in which many sought help for health concerns; this new approach comes with many benefits

Benefits of virtual appointments to you

  1. Convenience – You can have your appointments anywhere you feel comfortable, at home, in the office or even at the bus stop!

  2. Saves you time – No time wasted sat in the doctor’s surgery, you can get on with your day until your call with a GP.

  3. Keeps you safe – The pandemic has heightened our awareness of illness and risk of infection because of unnecessary contact with others. Results of the 2021 GP Patient Survey indicate that 17% of people avoided making doctors’ appointments because of the risk of catching COVID-192. Whilst the virus is a threat, you may prefer to play it safe with a virtual appointment from home.

Benefits of virtual appointments to your healthcare providers

  1. Relieves pressure – Virtual appointments generally take less time meaning appointments are available sooner, and GPs can speak to more patients. 

  2. Reaching the un-reachable – Video calls now offer a great way for those who are unable to travel, to consult a GP and discuss health concerns with the visual aid of video to ensure a reliable diagnosis. 

  3. Enables prioritisation – GPs can prioritise appointments for those with symptoms that require them to be seen face-to-face by a GP.

  4. Encourages collaboration – In fact, a recent study claims that 44% of younger doctors surveyed reported enhanced collaboration with their colleagues across different skillsets because of digital health technologies including telehealth3.
Man holding throat while on a video GP call

Is remote healthcare reliable?

With the perception that the healthcare landscape may have changed for good following the pandemic, virtual appointments are likely here to stay, which we think is great! For some of the more hesitant to the approach, this may leave a burning question. Is remote healthcare as reliable as face-to-face appointments?

The answer is yes, under the right circumstances. There are of course some issues that require a face-to-face consultation, and virtual appointments will never be a replacement for that. Virtual GP appointments are always a great place to start to seek advice and treatment, however if a GP ever feels like you need to be assessed in person, they will suggest a face-to-face appointment. 

This material may contain links to other websites operated by third parties. It is the responsibility of third parties to ensure such material and websites comply with all relevant laws and regulations. To the maximum extent permissible by law Simplyhealth disclaims all responsibility for such websites.