Digital GPs preferred to the real McCoy by almost half of young workers

Almost half of young workers said they would rather use telemedicine services than visit their GP practice. 

A study of 2,000 UK workers by Willis Towers Watson found that forty-one per cent of workers aged 18-24 would rather go online and use video links to access GP services, such as medical advice, consultations or prescriptions. 

The finding is in stark contrast to the 16 per cent of those aged 55 and over who held the same view.

This post-millennial workforce was found to be three times more likely than over 55s to have cancelled a scheduled GP appointment in the past 12 months (24 per cent vs eight per cent), and six times more likely (24 per cent vs four per cent) to be a no-show.

“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,” said Mike Blake, wellbeing lead at WTW.   

“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.” 

Forty-five per cent of all workers who failed to turn up to GP appointments said they forgot, 35 per cent said they arrived late, 33 per cent said work commitments prevented attendance and 20 per cent said they were unable to arrange transport. 

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

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

The trend towards decentralised healthcare was emphasised by famed futurist Matthew Griffin and a host of industry experts at Willis Towers Watson’s recent, inaugural, health and benefits disruption event, ‘Future-gazing: The disruptive forces impacting healthcare at work’.