Embrace technology, patients plead

Doug Hendrie

30/04/2018 11:12:40 AM

Nine out of ten patients say they would like GPs to notify them via text if they are running behind time, and half want to be able to communicate directly with their doctor via email and SMS, according to a recent survey.

What is stopping healthcare from going digital?
What is stopping healthcare from going digital?

Direct communication with their GP – not wait times – has been revealed as the number one issue for more than 700 recently patients surveyed by the Commonwealth Bank.
RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel told newsGP the issue is not GPs’ reluctance to embrace technology, but rather funding.
‘We still can’t get rebates from Medicare for e-consultations, but specialists can,’ he said. ‘Patients have told us they want high-tech healthcare, but for that to happen GPs will have to be eligible for the telehealth rebate.
‘There is no reason an electronic consultation should be not be covered by Medicare. A consultation is a consultation.’
Four out of five patients indicated they want to be able to access their medical records and test results, the survey found. While 40% of patients are already using fitness apps and wearable health trackers, only 22% shared the data generated with their GP. Of those who did share the data, 57% said their GP had used that data to give advice or develop a healthcare plan.
Despite the fact 71% of clinics surveyed already offer online bookings, only 45% of patients knew their GP had text message reminders.
Overall, an overwhelming majority of patients – 94% – said their experience visiting their GP was satisfactory or very satisfactory.
Commonwealth Bank national healthcare head Cameron Ziebell said the number of GPs setting up new practices is outpacing population growth.
‘To achieve growth in a highly competitive environment, GPs will need to further embrace technology-led improvements to their interactions with patients, as this is set to be the new battleground for attracting new patients or fostering loyalty,’ Mr Ziebell said.

communication e-health rebate telehealth

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