The Rise of Digital Doctors: the changing face of UK health tech provision

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New research by onefourzero and GK has found that demand from patients for health technology has risen dramatically since 2014.

At a time of significant pressure on NHS services, we have found that patients are turning to technology to help them address every-day health issues.

Click here to download the full report

Key findings:

  • The number of patients searching for online GP and prescription services has almost doubled since 2014, increasing by 99%.
  • As demand has increased for online GP services, so has positive sentiment of online social media conversations. In 2017, 20% of posts mentioning online GP services were positive on average, up from just 4% in 2016.
  • Desire for convenience is the single biggest driver of demand for online GP services, and is mentioned in 24% of online conversations on the topic.
  • In the last four years, searches for apps relating to mental health have increased more than five-fold, by 566%.
  • Demand for technology which aids patients to administer their own medication has seen a dramatic rise of 597% since April 2014.

Our findings highlight the need for health tech providers to demonstrate excellent transparency, legitimacy and compliance to build trust amongst patients and mitigate risk in a fast-evolving regulatory & policy environment.

Commenting, Robin Grainger, Group CEO, said:

“Demand for online GP services, mental health and medication management apps has exploded in the UK, as patients seek out new technologies to deliver greater convenience and control of care.  But can these new technologies deliver effective care? Regulators and health professionals have already expressed concerns regarding the safety and legitimacy of patient-centred health tech. Effective collaboration between health-tech providers, NHS trusts, policymakers and regulators is essential to ensure we take full advantage of these new technologies, whilst protecting patients.”

Commenting, Fleur Hicks, Managing Director at onefourzero, said:

“It’s clear from our data that patients’ appetite for health technology is increasing, with more and more patients turning to online providers for consultations, prescriptions, and help managing long-term conditions. With this demand showing no signs of slowing down, the question for providers operating in this space is how they can ensure they offer the best possible service for patients without compromising on patient safety and best practice.”

Download the full report here.