A study has suggested that more than two-thirds of patients prefer digital communications from their healthcare provider over those sent via post.
The independent survey, commissioned by Healthcare Communications, involved 2,000 adults in Britain.
The results showed a preference for digital communications, with two thirds (68%) wanting to be able to manage their NHS appointments online or via a smartphone (i.e. confirm, cancel or reschedule their appointments).
Around 40% indicated they would like to go paperless with all their communications from the NHS, versus just under a third (31%) who didn’t. The remaining 29% either didn’t know or didn’t give a preference.
Digital communications were most popular with the younger demographics. 53% of under 35s said they would like to go fully paperless with the NHS, with 77% of under 45s wanting to be able to confirm, cancel or reschedule their NHS appointments online or via a smartphone.
Healthcare Communications, which provides patient communications technology, has worked with the NHS for the last 17 years and helped introduce SMS text reminder services.
“These results suggest patient-focused digital technology continues to play a growing role in helping to reduce the number of missed hospital appointments, with many patients showing a preference for a paperless approach,” said Mike Cunningham, managing director of Healthcare Communications.
“Failure to attend appointments places huge strain on NHS resources.
“By continuing to develop and introduce new communication tools, the patient experience is enhanced, costs are reduced and resources become easier to manage.”
The survey also revealed that nearly half of those patients questions said issues with appointment letters meant they missed their hospital appointment.
Last year, Healthcare Communications launched a patient portal that allows patients to receive and respond to appointment letters digitally, as well as giving the NHS confirmation that the digital letter has been accessed by the patient. Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was the first to introduce the digital letter technology.
Rebecca (Science Comms PG Student)
24 January 2018 @ 14:19
By conducting surveys online did this not exclude those most likely to object i.e. those without access to the relevant skills and technology?
23 January 2018 @ 17:58
As Don Detmer said to me once, “nobody ever did a double blind trial on use of telephones in. A&E”
23 January 2018 @ 07:50
Digital letter technology?
Like, an email?
Dr Pete Sudbury
22 January 2018 @ 13:02
Shock! horror! Survey finds blindingly obvious is true!
22 January 2018 @ 14:09
It may seem blindingly obvious however in 2005 when we said the same thing about SMS reducing DNA’s, we were asked where was our evidence?? To be fair some sites still ask us this even after sending 400 million plus messages that work. It is the blindingly obvious drum we have to keep hitting regarding patient communications.
22 January 2018 @ 11:36
Yet another digital initiative that is publishing positive findings – great. Oh, wait a minute… The survey was commissioned by Healthcare Communications and the service the survey says patients want is provided by Healthcare Communications.
So add this to the pile of Online consultations providers who are all getting published about their own tools and how great they are.
Where are the independent studies?? Why are these articles being published? Surely a large disclaimer about conflicts of interests is needed if they are to continue to be published.
22 January 2018 @ 14:11
This is independently commissioned by ICM a reputable company, it’ s been a bit like field of dreams, we have built it aware they are coming. This just provides another layer of evidence they are on their way.
22 January 2018 @ 10:49
A survey commissioned by digital communications provider finds that patients want digital communications …
… what an unexpected finding!
Not only do we doubt the independence of the study given it’s commissioner but there’s no link to said study to review it’s methodology.
22 January 2018 @ 14:12
The study was independent ICM interviewed a random sample of 2,000 adults aged 18+ in GB through online interviewing between 1-4 December 2017. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at http://www.ICMunlimited.com.
22 January 2018 @ 16:27
Mike @ HealthComm
Thanks for engaging in discussion. If the survey is independent then why haven’t you published it? The link you give just shows the organisation you commissioned.
You could put it here: http://www.healthcare-communications.com/news/ as a start, or even submit it for peer review? Then people could read the study and it’s methodology and provide challenge. Transparancy would give your findings more weight.
Otherwise it’s a fertile ground for conspiracy theorists like me to argue that you might have a vested interest in the study having the outcome that favours your organisation!
Hannah Crouch @ digitalhealth
Where’s the journalistic challenge? Did Healthcare Communications share the study findings with you? Or have you taken them at their word?
Otherwise this looks worryingly close to an ‘advert’ and if so should be marked as such.
22 January 2018 @ 16:42
What Cynic said….
Please publish the whole review or otherwise it has no real value for those that need to really evidence the impact these tools can have.
If the evidence is there and it has been found via an impartial body celebrate it and share it on your news feed – I’d love to read it as anything to help show digital is without doubt the way forward would be great. As it is, we are just reviewing articles with a lot of self interest – or adverts as this comes across as.
22 January 2018 @ 17:42
Happy to discuss it’s good feedback for us. We published the findings on our twitter feed on our website, do take your point it should also be under the news which is an action for my team. The body used is impartial and independent , the findings have evidenced on a wider geographic scale what our digital systems are delivering for localised clients. Take on board the peer review , however the cynic in me ( JFK conspiracy, moon landings true 🙂 does think that takes time, that as Dr Peter points out is the blindingly obvious : ) We have added stats to his point.
23 January 2018 @ 09:15
I’ve read your twitter feed back to the start of the year:
I can’t see a link to the study anywhere? I see several posts linking to this article on digitalhealth.net, and also web links to digitalhealthage.com and digitalbydefaultnews.co.uk where this independent study is again quoted – but where is the study?
Publish or all these articles ring hollow.
23 January 2018 @ 09:34
“The study was independent ICM interviewed a random sample of 2,000 adults aged 18+ in GB through online interviewing between 1-4 December 2017. ”
So the article says patients but the quote above implies individuals, how many have recent patient experiences. If it isn’t filtered then a random sample, may not be representative of the age and sex of actual patients.
The quote above says it is an online survey so probably has a bias towards the digitally engaged.
Without the survey this is just another publicity puff piece.