More than half of Australians don’t want to visit a GP office online, with just under one in four saying they do not feel comfortable using a telephone or internet application.
Key points:The study found most people did not feel safe using a GP app or website onlineThe majority of Australians did not want online appointments with a GP, even if they had no medical conditionsDr Robert Kavcic from the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Australian Network of GPs said online GP appointments were a huge problem, and one that could be addressed using existing processes.
“If we don’t have a system in place to manage and monitor all these online appointments that can potentially lead to a huge number of people getting an unwell, unwell-connected or unwell connected GP,” he said.
“We need to do a better job of managing and monitoring these appointments and get rid of the fear and anxiety associated with those appointments.”
Dr Kavcik said the study was designed to inform the government on how best to move forward with the program, and the findings were welcomed.”GPs need to know that the vast majority of Australian people do want to see a GP on a regular basis and the vast amount of data that has been collected about the way we go about that will hopefully be of use,” he told RN Breakfast.
“It is time to move to a system where GP visits can be conducted through phone, or through the internet, or both.”
This survey shows that the Australian public do want these kinds of services to be available.
“A majority of respondents to the survey said they were not comfortable using the internet to manage appointments, while almost a quarter said they did not know what to do if they wanted to use a GP phone or internet app.
However, many of those surveyed did feel confident that they would be able to manage their appointments on a GP’s phone.”
I think it is a bit worrying that a significant number of Australians do not think that they are comfortable using their phone, they don’t know what their options are, they may not even be able get through to their GP to get an appointment,” Dr Kavczic said.
In contrast, more than half the respondents said they would feel comfortable calling a GP if they needed to make an appointment.”
What this really shows is that there is a great deal of anxiety and concern around the use of a GP service online,” Dr Wirrau said.
Dr Wirran said the survey was designed with the aim of helping the government get the right direction.”
They need to understand that there are two major issues here,” he added.”
The first is the fear of an unhelpful GP or a GP who doesn’t respond to their concerns, and then there is the actual quality of the service.
“As a GP we are here to help people, but we need to ensure that we are delivering quality service.
And the second is that we need a system that can manage all these appointments.”
In the past few years, the number of GP appointments has been rising, and more than three million appointments were made in the first three months of the financial year.
Dr Kravcic said while there was a lot of data available, it was not always accurate, and that there were many unknowns around the quality of online GP services.
“People are going to call, they are going do a quick phone interview, but what we need is a reliable system in the way that the GP is communicating and the way the GP sees patients,” he explained.
“That’s where the trust gap is.”