Our own Andy Sloman, director of LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, shares his thoughts on omni-channel business and how we’re offering flexible healthcare services to our patients.
Nearly 90% of the UK’s population uses the internet, and research published earlier this month suggests that 1 in 20 uses mobile phones to buy products and services every single day. According to the study by digital advertising experts Criteo, clothing is the most popular mobile purchase, followed by music & film and health & beauty products, at 16pc and 14pc respectively.
Healthcare has a lot to learn from the retail sector in terms of responding to consumer behaviour; offering choice and being where the customer wants us to be in order to meet the demands of busy lifestyles.
Whilst it’s true that ‘millennials’ are driving much online usage, the percentage of recent internet users aged 75 and over is growing (doubling between 2015 and 2016) and will continue to do so as the demographic shifts to include baby boomers. Needless to say, the older age group represents the biggest use of health services, so these behavioural shifts have important implications for those of us in the healthcare business.
With an ageing population and an explosion in the numbers of those living with long-term conditions, our health service will continue to face challenges regardless of financial pressures. At the same time, people are more willing to embrace new ways of accessing health care and the developments in technology make it possible.
The internet presents great opportunities to further increase efficiencies in the health care system. Similar to online banking, remote technologies could be a very useful way to complement existing services; they suit an ever more demanding patient, would help deal with the increase in conditions, and could help relieve the pressures on GP practices.
Although face-to-face consultations will remain at the heart of primary care, remote services provide a viable alternative for an increasing array of conditions. LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor is a doctor-led initiative providing safe, reliable, and discreet remote online healthcare to adults in the UK.
Our patient-centred model of healthcare allows patients to tailor care around their schedule and increases healthcare access for harder-to-reach patient groups. Right now, these include lifestyle conditions such as erectile dysfunction and hair loss, and sensitive conditions including STIs, contraception and cystitis. The future holds great potential for us to expand this list even further.
There are strong arguments for why the NHS might embrace remote diagnosis as a complementary method to ensure sufficient delivery of satisfactory health care in the future, and we are keen to grow our partnerships with commissioning bodies and the NHS. If regulated and monitored appropriately, remote diagnoses and prescriptions could benefit the healthcare system in similar ways as remote service efficiencies have helped the banking system.
We are responding to the changing requirements of our customers to create an omni-channel business. Whether it’s offering Click & Collect from our pharmacies via our Online Pharmacy service, or convenient access to doctors for a range of treatments through our Online Doctor, we are delivering a better experience to satisfy today’s high customer expectations.