Pure Telecom, Ireland’s high-speed broadband and telecoms provider, today announces the latest results from its inaugural Connected Lives survey, which show a strong appetite among Ireland’s adult population for more accessible online healthcare. The research found that nearly half (49%) of the population said they would be more likely to bring a health concern to their GP if they offered online consultations, yet just 29% said that this is a service their GP currently offers.
The nationally representative survey of 1,004 adults in Ireland was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Pure Telecom. It explored public sentiments about connected healthcare, which is expected to become an integral part of healthcare systems around the world in the coming years.
Pure Telecom’s research shows that 64% of adults would be willing to have online consultations with all types of healthcare providers, where appropriate, if it meant they could help to reduce waiting times. Recent research from McKinsey shows that online consultations reduce hospital wait times by unlocking bed capacity. Moreover, the Government highlights in its 2023 Waiting List Action Plan that virtual patient engagement can be an effective tool in helping to reduce waiting times.
Showing the potential benefits of connected healthcare, more than half of adults believe that it could improve the accessibility (57%) and quality (55%) of healthcare available to them. People living in Louth were the most likely to say that connected healthcare would improve the accessibility of healthcare to them (73%), followed by those in Carlow (71%) and Kilkenny and Kerry (65%).
Not everyone is convinced by the benefits of connected healthcare, however, with almost a third (32%) saying they do not have faith that telemedicine and online consultations enable accurate diagnoses.
Often, early detection can be a deciding factor in the outcome of health issues. Pure Telecom’s research found that 58% of adults would be willing to have their health tracking device’s data monitored and shared to catch potential health issues. Over half of the population (52%) used a mobile app to manage their health symptoms or appointments in the last 12 months.
Paul Connell, CEO, Pure Telecom, said: “Often, it is important that we see a healthcare professional in-person to receive the appropriate care or treatment. There are other times when healthcare visits feel like they could have been more time-efficient – both for the patient and health professional – by being done online.
“Our research shows that there is an appetite among adults in Ireland for our healthcare providers to embrace connected medicine where it is appropriate. We found that a significant proportion of the adult population – 63% – have had an online consultation with a healthcare professional in the last 12 months, rising to 71% for those aged 34 and under, and falling to 53% for those aged 35 and over. On average, 36% of adults have had online consultations with a GP. Interestingly, however, only 29% of respondents reported that their own GP offers online consultations. This suggests that people may be actively searching for GPs, other than their own, who will give them online appointments as an alternative to going in-person.
“Judging from the proportion of people who are managing aspects of their health using mobile apps, and those who are willing to have their health tracking device’s data shared with their healthcare provider, we can also see that Irish adults are taking charge of their healthcare and putting more faith in technology.
“Whether it’s via an app or an online consultation, connectivity is everything when it comes to remote healthcare. Patients and medical professionals need to be able to connect as seamlessly as possible and Pure Telecom is playing a role in facilitating this through reliable, high-speed broadband. We are committed to ensuring that as connected healthcare grows, our customers can access the services they need at all times.”