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November 18, 2019

VitalityHealth study reveals men prefer digital GP consultations

By Asena Degirmenci

Approximately 9% more men than women prefer GP consultations by video or phone, according to a study by VitalityHealth.

In contrast, available research with NHS GP appointment data reveals that when it comes to face-to-face NHS GP appointments, men make 10% less appointments than woman. This response has been consistent for both 2018 and 2019.

Research from the University of Exeter suggest ‘practical reasons’ behind men not visiting their GP.

A few of the top reasons suggest embarrassment and fears around loss of earnings during the time it takes to visit a surgery. Another is that the surgery atmosphere is ‘too feminine’.

Vitality GP services accommodate these issues though fast access to appointments, 20 minute GP consultations, booking in person consultations on the app, pre-authorised onward referrals for further treatment and integration with an individual’s Vitality wellness data.

The newly launched Home Diagnostics Pathway also provides access to blood tests, which are delivered by qualified nurses in a member’s home or at a designated work address.

VitalityHealth clinical operations director Ali Hasan said: “Improvements in technology have changed how many people access GP appointments and this comes with many benefits. Usage of our GP app has grown exponentially since we launched it four years ago, with over 30,000 consultations being delivered to members over the last year alone.

“We are pleased to be the first and to our knowledge only major health insurer offering every UK member access to Video-based GP consultations with every health insurance plan. Video-based GP consultations can help people overcome many of the barriers identified by the University of Exeter as to why men don’t visit their GP. They’re simple to use, convenient and fast – with Vitality GP you can book video consultations within 48 hours – including on evenings and Saturday mornings. This may explain why our usage statistics buck the traditional trend of women being more likely to see the doctor.

“We believe prevention and early access to care are key to a long and healthy life. That means getting the help you need, where and when you need it. We have introduced face-to-face, video-call and 24-hour phone advice, all delivered through the Vitality GP app, and Vitality GPs are encouraged to provide wellness advice on video consultations, to help deliver on this philosophy.”

62-year-old business consultant and specialist in equality and diversity Martin Harding said: “I have a busy job and travel a lot, in the UK and abroad. It’s hard to take time off work,” he says. “When you try and see your own doctor you have to ring up at 8am on the dot. If it gets to 8.10am all the appointments are gone.

“Using Vitality GP puts the patient in control, I could be having a consultation on the train on my way to a meeting. It hits all the marks of ease, convenience and practicality. It also gets rid of any embarrassment factors. You don’t have to stand in an open waiting room to discuss a follow-up. It’s really private.”

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