Percentage of people who made an appointment with a health practitioner online (2016)
Access to the internet among Europeans is rising (85% of EU households had internet access in 2016) and people are increasingly going online to access information and interact with the provider of different services. Health is no exception. The amount of information regarding health and illness available on line is growing, as are the opportunities of interacting with health care providers electronically, for example to make medical appointments.
Digital technologies can improve patient experience and outcomes, and the efficiency of services, but some may generate minimal benefit (at a considerable expense), and protecting individuals’ privacy is a frequent problem and a policy priority (OECD, 2017). While online medical information can be a useful way to help people manage their health, regulation is difficult and many people are not in a position to check the veracity of this type of information.
One in eight EU residents (13%) made an appointment with a health care practitioner online in 2016, up from one in twelve (8%) in 2012 (Figure 8.3). Almost half (49%) of Danish residents made a medical appointment on
The figure was also low in Greece and Bulgaria (2% and 3% respectively in 2016). In all countries except Cyprus, the proportion of residents making appointments on line increased between 2012 and 2016, on average by 63%. The greatest increases were observed in Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Hungary.
Making medical appointments online had a weak correlation with internet access (r2 = 0.34), suggesting that internet access is not a sufficient condition
The correlation with the percentage of individuals booking travel and accommodation online (41% across the EU) was weak (r2 = 0.32). These figures suggest that internet use for making medical appointments is lagging behind use for other personal services.