One in four people in the UK admit to self-diagnosing illnesses rather than make time for a doctor’s appointment.
Research published in the UK Digital Health Report, created by on-demand video GP service PushDoctor.co.uk , reveals that 21.8% of people have chosen to diagnose their symptoms on the web because they were unable to get a doctor’s appointment (11%) or because their GP wasn’t available quickly enough (10.8%).
The report suggests the UK is becoming a nation of impatient patients, who are not willing to change plans to accommodate appointments to see their GP.
When asked what they would not be prepared to cancel in order to fit in a doctor’s appointment for a health issue causing them ‘moderate concern’, 47% literally weren’t prepared to get out of bed, saying that they wouldn’t miss the opportunity of a lie in to see their doctor.
50% wouldn’t cancel a gym session, 46% would keep arrangements to meet friends for lunch and 38% wouldn’t even be prepared to rearrange plans for a shopping trip.
The report also reveals that the internet is now the first place people go for advice when starting to feel unwell, more so than their partner or a medical professional. This is true for all age groups under 65 years old.
Analysis of data from 61 million UK internet searches for 160 leading health issues, reveals the trend for self-diagnoses is on the rise, up 19% over the last 12 months (an average of an extra 848,000 searches each month).
The top ten of most common health searches reveals back pain, diarrhea and depression as our leading concerns.
A UK league table reveals people in Liverpool as the top ‘Googlers’ of health concerns and as the city most likely to be researching back pain and depression. People in Essex were found to be most likely to be researching chlamydia and issues to do with reproductive health.
Dr Adam Simon, chief medical officer at PushDoctor.co.uk, said: “The findings indicate the extent to which people are now using technology to manage their health.
“As well as health searches being on the rise, 58% of people now actively use technology to manage their health and wellbeing on a daily basis. 22% use devices to monitor exercise and activity, 15% use tech to track their daily calorie intake and 12% to monitor sleep quality.
“People feel good about how technology is helping them to keep track of their health. 70% of people say that new technology helps them feel more in control or more aware of how to manage their health and wellbeing.”
However, Dr. Simon warns about self-diagnosis becoming the norm, “Healthcare providers need to find ways to stay relevant to patients who are getting used to ‘always-on’ services in other aspects of their lives.
“Our service, PushDoctor.co.uk, is the leading primary care innovator enabling patients to book online video appointments with one of over 7,000 GMC-registered UK GPs in minutes; at a time that suits them, so that patients can deal with issues they are facing straight away, rather than ignore them and see them get worse.
“The kind of flexibility that PushDoctor.co.uk delivers is essential for the majority of people who are too busy to find the time to deal with their health concerns, but who need to. Early prevention and issue management are key issues in the UK’s health eco-system, andPushDoctor.co.uk will play a huge part in helping to deliver this for patients.”
League Table of UK Health Searches for Self-Diagnosis
|% Share of UK Health Searches|
Most Commonly Searched Health Conditions
Most commonly searched for health conditions in UK (Index – most popular =100)
Top location searching for this condition
Link to the full report: https://www.pushdoctor.co.uk/digital-health-report