The number of people on the Isle of Wight who order their prescriptions online has increased more than fivefold over the past two years, according to NHS data.
The Royal College of GPs has called electronic prescribing services “hugely successful”, saying online technology can benefit doctors and patients alike.
A rise of 449%
Figures from GPs show that in October this year, there were 26,662 patients on the Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group signed up to request repeat prescriptions online.
That’s 21,804 more than in October 2016, when 4,858 people were registered – a rise of 449%.
The number of prescriptions ordered through GP online services has more than tripled since 2016.
Average of 141 per day
So far this year, 42,883 prescriptions have been requested. That’s the equivalent of 141 a day.
From January to October 2016, that figure was 12,865, or 42 a day.
Booking appointments online more than tripled
The option to book appointments online has also become much more popular.
The figures show the number of appointments booked, changed or cancelled online has more than tripled over the last two years.
This year so far, an average of 329 appointments a week were organised online, compared to 91 a week in 2016.
Benefit of online services
Online services are free and available to nearly everyone registered with a GP. More than 99% of practices in England now have this option available to patients.
Registered users can also access parts of their medical record through the service, including information about allergies, vaccinations and test results.
On the Isle of Wight just 18% of GP patients are signed up for at least one online service.
The Royal College of GPs called online services a “benefit” to GPs, practice teams and patients.
RCGP: GPs at the forefront of new innovation
College chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said:
“GPs have always been at the forefront of new innovation: we pioneered both electronic patient records and electronic prescribing in the NHS.”
Prof Stokes-Lampard said that patients having online access to their GP surgery can be both convenient for patients and time-saving for busy doctors and practice staff.
Surgeries linked directly to pharmacies successful
She said that electronic prescribing services that link surgeries directly to pharmacies have also been “hugely successful”.
“However, whilst these services can undoubtedly benefit some patients, they might not be suitable for everyone.
“That’s why it’s important that surgeries are also able to continue to offer more traditional means of delivering their services, for patients who prefer to speak to their practice directly.
“In an ideal world, practices will be able to offer all patients a wide range of different access to general practice services, but this would involve having the resources to do so.”
NHS England said it would “seek to take further advantage of digital tools, whilst continuing to provide traditional services”.
Empower public to take more control of own healthcare
Chief digital officer, Juliet Bauer, said:
“The NHS wants to empower the public to take more control of their own healthcare.
“It’s incredibly positive that over 15 million, or over 25% of, patients in England are signed up to online services in their GP practice and so many are going online to order repeat prescriptions and book GP appointments.”
Across England, an average of 120,000 prescriptions are ordered a day through online services, almost triple the number in 2016.
Article shared by Data Reporter as part of OnTheWight’s collaboration with Press Association and Urbs Media