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Patients look to the internet

According to two separate reports which have both been published today, more patients than ever before are going online to find health information and self-diagnose. The NHS Choices 2010 Annual Report says that the NHS website received over a 100 million visits in the last year at an average of 200,000 hits a day, a 10% increase on 2009.



Meanwhile, a separate study from Imperial College found that a third of those logging onto avoided booking a GP appointment afterwards, potentially saving the NHS £44m a year.


[quote top=Health minister Simon Burns said:] Every day we use the internet and technology to organise our lives, and increasingly when it comes to our health. For example, more and more people are taking the information they have found online with them when they consult their GP. It is vital that every penny spent on the NHS counts, and the Imperial College research shows that tools like NHS Choices can help deliver savings.[/quote]



Bristol GP Knut Schroeder added: "The internet is a great resource for health-related information as long as people can use sources they can trust and rely on. Indeed, many of my patients now use websites such as NHS Choices to look up health related information, such as symptoms or medical conditions. As a result, they are often better informed and are in a better position to use health services more appropriately.”