After a successful pilot scheme, a service that allows patients in the United Kingdom to book an appointment with their GP via their television or mobile phone is set to rollout across the country.
In all, over 1,100 surgeries could offer individuals the chance to book, amend and cancel appointments via their remote control or WAP-enabled handsets. In future, patients will also be able to order repeat prescriptions.
EMIS are the makers of the service, which can be accessed through the Looking Local portal on the interactive menus on Sky, cable and Freeview boxes with a modem or broadband connection.
On WAP-enabled mobile phones, access to Looking Local is charged at differing rates according to the individual’s provider.
Sean Riddell, healthcare managing director of EMIS, said:
“Thousands more people across the UK will now be able to enjoy the convenience of booking a doctor’s appointment via digital television – at the touch of a button. “As well as improving access to healthcare for patients, this unique service also saves valuable time and money for busy surgeries.”
Professor Mayur Lakhani, chair of the Royal College of GPs added:
“As a practising GP, I know from personal experience that the option of booking appointments online has proved very popular and I would expect that this project will have a similarly positive impact.” “Digital TV, the internet and mobile phones are all part of modern society and it is essential that we offer patients a range of choices to allow them to book an appointment with their GP in a way that is most convenient for them.”
The results of the pilot scheme showed that fewer people failed to turn up for their appointments, costing busy doctors less wasted time and, subsequently we assume, giving surgery receptionists a bit of a break from the telephone.
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