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Can Millennial Doctors and Digital Health Services Fix the Patient-Doctor Relationship?

Against a world-weary backdrop of ongoing financial, workload and resource pressure our new study shows millennial GPs believe digital communications can improve doctor-patient relations. And they want to lead the change…

Eugh. It’s 3am. Why I am awake? Ah - reality hits that I’ve had a sore throat for over two weeks. And now I have a fever with it. I’ll have to see the doctor in case it needs antibiotics. That will mean battling with the surgery for an appointment, time off work and a familiar work-weary exchange with my over-stretched GP - a digital native desperate to change her practice’s system.

It looks bacterial. We’ll take a swab and you can call in a few days for the results,” she sighs. “Then you can come back in to collect a prescription if needed. I wish there was an easier way.” Me too.

It’s not news that doctors and patients alike are challenged by the complexity of giving and receiving care. GPs are leaving medicine in droves and the NHS is reporting the first sustained drop in GPs in over 50 years, with the number of family doctors intending to retire or leave the health profession rising by a third since 2014.

Against this backdrop of ongoing financial, workload and resource pressure 3 Monkeys Zeno’s new study “Will Millennial Doctors Change Healthcare?” shows that 89% of millennial GPs in the UK agree it is difficult to spend enough time with patients to make proper diagnoses and develop trusted, personal relationships. 82% are interested in driving change in the healthcare sector, including developing more positive relationships with patients, as a way to both improve care as well as enhance their own career satisfaction. And, it’s not surprising that 83% see digital healthcare services as already having significant impact in enabling better communications between doctors and patients. Especially with its promise of saving practices and health systems precious time and money while creating an uber-esque experience for patients.

In fact, the study showed that three quarters of UK millennial GPs believe that direct mobile engagement is already improving the day to day practice of medicine.

So with roll-out of the NHS App and looming milestone of digital GP access by 2023/24, the scaling of digital primary care services that puts the patient-doctor relationship back at the center of things is well on the way. And with 82% of respondents stating they want to lead the change, it seems millennial GPs, including my own, are ready and keen to embrace digital services that help improve patient relations and in turn, overall quality of care and ultimately clinical outcomes.

To hear first-hand experience and opinion on the study from the frontline of general practice, please listen to our podcast with Dr Divanka Wijendra here.

By David Berkovitch, Head of Healthcare at 3 Monkeys Zeno.

3 Monkeys Zeno is the London-based European hub of Zeno Group

4th October 2019

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