Analysis of member data taken from the Vitality GP app has today revealed men make 9% more video-based appointments than women. This comes in contrast with NHS GP appointment data, which shows men made 10% fewer face-to-face appointments than women ‘over the last 6 months’: a key measure used by the NHS and a response consistent for both 2018 and 2019.
Research from the University of Exeter has suggested “practical reasons” – many of which can be overcome through video appointments – are behind men’s reasons for not visiting their GP. Their research identified the top reasons as:
- Difficulty in making an appointment outside working hours;
- Loss of earnings;
- Surgery atmosphere being “too feminine”;
- More likely than women to make spur of the moment decisions to visit the GP which is undermined by the traditional booking system and waiting for appointments;
- Too embarrassed;
- Limited vocabularies when it comes to discussing sensitive health issues.
Dr Ali Hasan, Clinical Operations Director at VitalityHealth, commented:
“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.”
Martin Harding, a 62-year-old business consultant and specialist in equality and diversity, from North Manchester, finds using his regular GP service stressful.
“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.”
Vitality GP services include: fast access to appointments within 48 hours; 20 minute GP consultations; the option to book via the app face-to-face consultations; pre-authorised onward referrals for further treatment where needed; and integration with an individual’s Vitality wellness data, allowing GPs to make lifestyle recommendations. Plus, the newly launched Home Diagnostics Pathway, providing quick access to pathology testing (blood tests), delivered by qualified nurses in a member’s home or at a designated work address.