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Understanding patient access to online GP services

25 August 2015

Understanding patient access to online GP services [ 390 kb] explores patient engagement with digital GP services through an analysis of the GP Patient Survey.

The research reveals several insights:

  • Despite the fact just over a third (34 per cent) of patients would like to book online appointments, only 6 per cent of patients normally do so despite drives to promote online access.

Policy Researcher Lizzy Greenhalgh's blog

Image of Policy Researcher Lizzie Greenhalgh

Why are patients not using online GP services? 

 

  • This is in part explained by low patient awareness of online GP services - fewer than three in ten patients (27 per cent) said they were aware of being able to book appointments online. But the functionality of online GP services might also be a barrier. Users have encountered technical difficulties and can find the requirement to attend the GP practice to collect online login details problematic. Meanwhile, new paid-for services are starting to offer new ways to access a GP online or via a mobile device.
  • By encouraging and supporting online access, GP practices can improve the patient experience. Patients who were aware of online services and use online services were more likely to rate their overall GP surgery experience as ‘very good’. For instance, half of patients (50 per cent) who order repeat prescriptions online rate their surgery as ‘very good’. In contrast, only 41 per cent of patients, who said they cannot access online services, described their experience as ‘very good’.