Lloydspharmacy Reports Swine Flu Could Trigger Boom In Remote
on: September 02, 2009, 4:09 am
has revealed a new report that suggests the government's use of
the internet and call centres to deal with the swine flu pandemic
could pave the way for a rapid growth in remote diagnosis and
prescriptions. This was just one of the conclusions found in the
report by the Future Foundation*.
Kleine Holthause, the report’s lead author, said:"Despite
its clinical shortcomings, the use of the internet and call centres
for diagnosing swine
flu and distributing medication demonstrates that remote diagnosis
can be an efficient way of dealing with certain conditions."
Future Foundation forecasts that 37% of people will be using the
web for medical information by 2020 (up from 14% in 2009) and
that a variety of social and economic factors will lead to a substantial
market for online diagnosis and prescriptions in the future.
report, commissioned by Lloydspharmacy,
coincides with the roll-out of 'virtual GPs' into 300 of the chain's
pharmacies. Lloydspharmacy has pioneered online diagnosis and
the chain has innovated again by allowing customers to walk into
a pharmacy, consult with a doctor from a computer terminal and
walk out with their prescriptions a few minutes later.
Murdock, pharmacy relations and governance director of Lloydspharmacy,
said: "The face to face consultation will remain at the heart
of primary care, but for an increasing array of conditions, remote
services provide a viable alternative.
now these include lifestyle conditions such as impotence
and hair loss, embarrassing conditions such as STIs, contraception
and certain minor ailments such as cystitis. But the list could
expand considerably in the future."
the report's authors warn that regulation will be critical if
privately run diagnosis and prescription services are to grow.
At present only one online
doctor service is registered with the Care Quality Commission
explicitly to manage patients remotely. That service, Dr Thom,
also provides the GP component of the Lloydspharmacy service.
is no question that consumers are receptive to the concept. Forty
eight per cent of respondents to a poll conducted for the Future
Foundation said they were interested in online diagnosis and 56%
said they were interested in online prescriptions.
added: "In certain areas consumers welcome regulation. Concerns
about counterfeit medicines, bogus doctors and commercial motivations
will inevitably act as a brake on consumer confidence in remote
diagnosis services. We believe that more regulation, monitoring
and control will be crucial to the further development of this
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. If regulated and monitored appropriately
remote diagnoses and prescriptions could benefit the healthcare
system in similar ways as remote services have helped the banking
Lloydspharmacy Online Doctor service is run in conjunction with
online health experts Dr Thom, who adhere to the General Medical
Council’s guidelines on remote prescribing. Patients log
on for an online questionnaire-based consultation with a GP. If
clinically appropriate the GP writes a prescription and the treatment
is dispensed by post for next day delivery.
Notes to editor
* The Future of Remote Diagnosis and Prescription Services, August
Lloydspharmacy is the trading name of Lloydspharmacy Ltd, a wholly
owned subsidiary of Celesio AG based in Stuttgart. Celesio is
a leading international company which covers the spectrum of pharmaceutical
trade and pharmaceutical-related services.
group is active in 28 countries, with 1700 pharmacies across the
UK, and employs around 41,500 people in its three divisions Patient
and Consumer Solutions, Pharmacy Solutions and Manufacturer Solutions.
Over 2,300 of Celesio’s own pharmacies, as part of Patient
and Consumer Solutions, serve over 550,000 customers in seven
countries every day.
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