New research shows the value of online health information and debunks the view that the internet has made us all impatient, demanding service and results immediately, at least when it comes to healthcare.
'What has happened is that people with access to the internet appear to be better informed,' said spokesperson for Standard Life Healthcare, Mandy Blanks. 'This has the effect, it seems, of allowing them to make more knowledgeable choices - and not necessarily split-second decisions.'
Although it was true that 48% of people who use the internet said they would be likely to pay for private treatment rather than wait for the NHS, as opposed to 24% of people who are NOT online, the study also showed that:
- They were more likely (69%) to rate expertise of care as a benefit of private medical insurance; just 59% of those NOT on the internet did so.
- More than one in three were able to guess accurately the cost of a heart bypass, as opposed to one in five who are not online. The latter were half as likely to get it very wrong (9% as opposed to 19%).
- They were no more likely to demand treatment sooner than people without internet access.
Standard Life Healthcare conducted the research as part of its annual Attitudes to Healthcare Survey. The 7th annual Standard Life Attitudes to Healthcare report is based on a survey conducted by TNS via PhoneBus, a telephone Omnibus survey. A representative sample of 1006 GB adults aged 16 plus was interviewed.
The company offers its medical insurance customers online access to medically approved health and wellbeing advice, which comes with reminders and updates to help keep people on track. For added peace of mind the company's customers can arrange to speak by telephone to a GP or call a range of other health advice lines 24 hours a day, any day of the year if they have any health concerns.