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Quarter of UK patients now diagnosing online

Survey finds people would rather self-diagnose symptoms than wait for GP appointment

Online GPs 

One in four people in the UK admit to self-diagnosing illnesses rather than making a doctor's appointment.

This is according to new research published in the UK Digital Health Report - which is created by on-demand video GP service PushDoctor.co.uk - that reveals 21.8% of people have chosen to diagnose their symptoms on the web because they were unable to get a doctor's appointment (11%) or because their GP wasn't available quickly enough (10.8%).

The report also reveals that the internet is now the first place people go for advice when starting to feel unwell, more so than their partner or a medical professional.  This is true for all age groups under 65 years old.

Analysis of data from 61 million UK internet searches for 160 leading health issues also reveals the trend for self-diagnoses is on the rise, up 19% over the last 12 months (an average of an extra 848,000 searches each month).

The top ten of most common health searches reveals back pain, diarrhoea and depression as the leading concerns in the UK.

The data reveals that people in Liverpool are the top 'Googlers' of health concerns and as the city most likely to be researching back pain and depression.  People in Essex were found to be most likely to be researching chlamydia and issues to do with reproductive health.

Dr Adam Simon, chief medical officer at PushDoctor.co.uk, said: “The findings indicate the extent to which people are now using technology to manage their health.

“As well as health searches being on the rise, 58% of people now actively use technology to manage their health and well-being on a daily basis.  22% use devices to monitor exercise and activity, 15% use tech to track their daily calorie intake and 12% to monitor sleep quality.

“People feel good about how technology is helping them to keep track of their health. 70% of people say that new technology helps them feel more in control or more aware of how to manage their health and well-being.”

However, Dr Simon warns about self-diagnosis becoming the norm, adding: “Healthcare providers need to find ways to stay relevant to patients who are getting used to 'always-on' services in other aspects of their lives.”

Article by
Ben Adams

28th July 2015

From: Marketing

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