Almost half of young employees would prefer to use ‘digital GPs’ than visit a practice, a new study shows.

Forty one percent of workers aged 18-24 would rather use telemedicine services than see a doctor in person, preferring to go online and use video links to access medical advice, consultations and prescriptions.

The research also reveals that post-millennial staff are three times more likely than the over-55s to have cancelled a scheduled GP appointment in the past 12 months (24% compared with eight percent), and six times more likely (24% compared with four percent) to be a no-show.

The survey by insurance brokers and advisors Willis Towers Watson, which questioned 2,000 UK workers, also found that, in comparison, just 16% of employees aged 55 and over wanted access to digital services.

Willis Towers Watson wellbeing lead Mike Blake said: “Culturally, Millennials and Generation Z are used to accessing anything, anywhere, at any time and accept mobile tech, subscription and on-demand services as the everyday norm. These younger workers are perhaps less prepared than their older colleagues to wait, to make arrangements or to take time out of their working day for appointments.

“Workplace telemedicine offers a convenient, flexible solution by bringing GP services into the ‘on-demand services’ fold. For less complex illnesses and medical conditions, telemedicine can enable employees to receive a swift diagnosis and treatment plan without the need to take time off work.

“When used appropriately, it has the potential to reduce healthcare costs, increase productivity and employee engagement, while reducing the burden on primary care services.”

Of the workers who failed to turn up to GP appointments:

  • 45% forgot
  • 35% arrived late
  • 33% were prevented from attending by work commitments
  • 20% were unable to arrange transport.

The popularity of GP helplines and online doctors providing face–to-face video consultations has increased, with a growing number of insurers and healthcare providers now offering telemedicine care.

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