“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” take II (UK)

Names again! E-Health Insider today has published a typo-prone summary of a Technology Strategy Board survey of the public’s understanding of “‘health and safety devices”. Unsurprisingly, just as most people would not know what acetylsalicylic acid is (though would be happy to take it when it was called aspirin), so only 10% knew that “‘health and safety devices” meant telecare and telehealth. Not sure I’d get that one right either.

There is better news though. The article also quotes the survey as finding that “38% of people said they did not understand the benefits for both self-care technologies and for health and care apps for smartphones and tablets” which I reckon is fantastically marvellous because it means that 62% of the population did understand the benefits of these technologies, which is a heck of a lot more than I suspect a random sample of GPs would, and shows we have been successful beyond our wildest dreams, especially if those happen to be concentrated in the oldest 62% of the population.

Sadly not all was quite so good as “…the research found that 43% of people would not consider telehealth because they would prefer to be seen by their clinician face to face.” Just as whenever in conversation someone tells me they wouldn’t share their health data, and I’ve asked whether they’d still feel like that if they were lying dying in the street and could be saved only if a clinician had instant access to that data, so I wonder if the question had been posed,  as with our local surgery for non-urgent consultations, “would you prefer to wait 28 calendar days to see your clinician face to face or would you be consider remote consultation within 24 hours”, the answer might be slightly different.

The good side of course is that in spite of how the question was probably posed, 57% still would consider remote consultation, which possibly explains why every private online consultation business I speak to is growing in popularity, and the 180 GP strong Hurley Group in London, among many, is increasingly offering it on the NHS. (However our local practice is still planning to reduce waiting times by getting the NHS to fund a massive new big waiting room which if it is ever built will be as much a white elephant then as out of town superstores are already becoming now. And please let’s not get into whether telehealth can ever be the alternative to face to face consultation – we know what they meant.)

Sadly the article does not give a link to the survey, and I cannot find it on the TSB website, so perhaps this is all part of the build-up to next week’s dallas self-care event at the Kings Fund on 24th June when more will be doubtless be revealed, and reactions & responses sought. Sadly the event is now waitlisted, though I think I read somewhere it is being streamed too. This Editor will be there, on the DHACA stand – do drop by if you fancy a chat…or just to celebrate that 62% of the population do understand the benefits of self-care technologies. It’s just wonderful news!


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