Third Citizens' Panel report
Third Panel Report
The third Citizens' Panel survey asked questions about digital technologies for healthcare improvement, using and sharing personal health and social care information and access to healthcare professionals other than doctors. Surveys were carried out between September and October 2017 concerning the following issues:
- The use of digital health and care technologies
- How personal health information is shared and managed
- The use of depersonalised health information for research and development
- Public perceptions of availability and access to healthcare professionals other than GPs
- The role of GP practice receptionists
- Awareness of local optician services
File type: pdf
File size: 3 MB
Publication date: January 2018
Digital health and care
The survey opened by asking Panel members about their use of various digital communication and information devices. The majority of respondents used a mobile or smart phone (91%), a desktop or laptop computer (86%) or a tablet (62%). A small proportion of respondents used wearable technology such as a smart watch or Fitbit and only 1% of Panel members did not use any of these things.
Digital communication tools that were used most regularly (at least once a day) included email (72%), the internet (59%) and social media (51%). On the other hand, web-based communications such as Skype were used less regularly with only 16% stating they use this at least once a day and 41% stating they never use this.
All Panel members were asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 “how confident they feel using digital communication technology” (where 1 was not confident at all and 10 was very confident). Just under 4 in 10 Panel members (37%) said they felt very confident (i.e. gave a rating of 10 out of 10), and on the other hand, only 5% said they were not at all confident (i.e. gave a rating of 1 out of 10).
The vast majority of Panel members (85%) believed there were benefits to using digital communication tools and technologies to access health and social care services.
Just under three quarters of Panel members (74%) said there were disadvantages in using digital communication tools and technologies to access health and social care services.
Half of Panel members (50%) felt it would be useful to share health and wellbeing information from their devices or apps with their health professionals or care providers, 14% said this would not be useful and 36% were unsure.
The survey included a question which asked Panel members about their (or their family’s) use of digital health and social care services in Scotland. Services which have been used most by Panel members were NHS 24 (41%), GP surgery website for information (31%), and online repeat prescriptions at their GP practice (29%).
Services that had not been used but where awareness was highest included NHS 24 (56%), Technology Enabled Care (45%) and health and wellbeing apps (45%).
Video access to services (77%), Care Information Scotland (69%), remote monitoring of long-term conditions (62%) and NHS Inform (59%) were services which had the highest proportion of respondents unaware of their existence.
Use of information: Personal
Over 8 in 10 Panel members (83%) believed that “professionals should – with the appropriate safeguards – be able to share your medical information with other health and social care professionals who are involved in your care, in order to support your ongoing healthcare”. On the other hand, 5% disagreed with this statement and 12% were unsure.
All Panel members were asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 “how much they trust health and social care professionals in Scotland to manage their information securely to support their care” (where 1 was no trust at all and 10 was complete trust). Just under 20% gave a score of 10, i.e. said they completely trusted health and social care professionals in this respect compared to just 1% who said they had no trust at all.
Use of information: Research and development
On a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 was very uncomfortable and 10 was completely comfortable) respondents were asked how comfortable they felt about researchers accessing anonymised or de-personalised health and social care information from the Scottish population, in order to support and inform design and delivery of health and care services. 34% said they felt completely comfortable in this respect, compared to just 4% who said they felt very uncomfortable.
Eight in ten Panel members (80%) agreed that in the context of service improvement and public health, there were benefits to sharing health and social care information that has been made anonymous. On the other hand, 5% disagreed with this statement and 15% were unsure.
Community health and care services
The vast majority of Panel members (97%) said that GP Practice Nurses were available at their practice. Just under 6 in 10 Panel members (59%) said Phlebotomists were available at their GP practice and 37% said that Midwives were available.
Panel members also indicated which services were unavailable at their GP practice. Pharmacist (48%) and Physiotherapist services (30%) had the highest level of reported unavailability.
Panel members were most likely to be unaware of the availability of Health Care Support Workers (67%), Occupational Therapists (64%) and Mental Health Specialist Nurses (63%).
Six in ten Panel members (60%) agreed that they would take an appointment with another healthcare professional if they were offered this when phoning their GP practice for an appointment with a doctor, 10% said they would not take the appointment and 29% were unsure.
The vast majority of Panel members (78%) said they would consider going directly to other healthcare professionals if they had been happy with the treatment they received, 8% said they would not consider going directly to the other healthcare professional and 14% were unsure.
Three quarters of Panel members (75%) said they would be more likely to accept an appointment with another health or social care professional if they understood more about their role, 8% said they would not be more likely to do this and 16% were unsure.
Receptionists in GP Practices
Over 6 in 10 Panel members (63%) said they would feel very comfortable (19%) or comfortable (44%) sharing some basic information with their GP Practice Receptionist about why they need an appointment. On the other hand, 24% said they would feel uncomfortable and a further 13% very uncomfortable in doing this.
Local optician services
Panel members were most likely to be aware that their local optician can give them advice and treatment on free eye tests (98%), free eye care prescriptions (88%), blurred or double vision (86%) and headaches when reading or watching television (80%).
On the other hand, respondents were least likely to be aware that their local optician can offer advice and treatment for cysts and styes (49% aware) and if they had something in their eye (57% aware).
Panel members were provided with the same list of optician services and were asked whether they had ever asked an optician for advice or treatment regarding any of these. Use of these services was highest regarding free eye tests (87%) and free eye care prescriptions (55%). On the other hand, very few respondents had asked an optician for advice or treatment regarding cysts and styes (3%), squints in children (6%) or if they had something in their eye (12%).
Findings from the Panel survey have contributed to the Scottish Government's Digital Health and Care Strategy.
The findings also helped inform an Equalities Impact Assessment of The National Health Service (Primary Medical Services Section 17C Agreements) (Scotland) Regulations 2018, which came into force on 1 April 2018.