Customers are turning to a virtual GP to diagnose cough, cold, flu and fever from the comfort of their own home rather than attending their local surgery, data from AIG Life Limited has revealed. As a rapidly growing UK population continues to put a strain on the NHS, many people are simply giving up on phoning their local GP, only to be interrogated by a receptionist and told the next appointment is in 10 days’ time. Online diagnosis, especially for minor ailments, has to be the way ahead.
One in five people (22%) who have used AIG Life’s Smart Health 24/7 virtual GP service over six months booked a meeting to discuss symptoms of viral infection – 14% were for common ailments such as colds and flu and 8% sought help with sore throats and tonsillitis.
There has been strong demand for Smart Health – an extra benefit that comes with life insurance, critical illness and income protection from insurer AIG Life – since its launch in August 2019, and for the GP service in particular. From over 2,000 uses of Smart Health’s six interconnected services, the GP service is most popular as over 58% booked a phone or video appointment.
The top 10 most common categories of ailment made up over 70% of conversations.
The top 10 conditions are:
- Cough / cold / flu / high temperature
- Dermatological / eczema / moles
- Gastroenteritis / abdominal
- Neck / back pain / musculoskeletal
- Sore throat / tonsillitis
- Head / eye / sinus pain
- Urology / urinary tract infection
- Gynaecological / thrush / bacterial vaginosis
- Mental health concerns
- Repeat / prescription requests
After speaking with a UK GP either by phone or via a video consultation using Smart Health, 54% then stayed at home instead of consulting a medical practitioner in person.
Commenting on the 24/7 GP service use, Sue Helmont, Marketing Director at AIG Life, said: “Customers who have used the Smart Health 24/7 GP service tell us they find it really valuable when they can’t get an appointment at their local GP practice, can’t take the time out of work or are travelling.
“Any AIG Life customer who has any concern about a medical condition should download the Smart Health GP by AIG app. It’s free and can be accessed from anywhere in the world or from the comfort of your own home, 24 hours a day. It’s especially popular with employees who are insured by us through an employer’s group protection scheme so I encourage employers to remind their employees that they can use it for advice about any medical issue.”