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PAGB finds age divide in uptake of health technology

The public should be encouraged to make greater use of digital health technologies, the PAGB has said, arguing this will reduce the number of unnecessary GP appointments.

The OTC manufacturer trade body made these remarks as it published a survey highlighting a generational divide in attitudes towards health and well being devices and apps.

The PAGB survey found that 68 per cent of 18-35 year olds “trust” health technology, while only 28 per cent of 46-55 year olds and 19 per cent of 56-65 year olds felt the same.

Similarly, around two thirds of under-35s said they use an app or device to track their health, while far fewer people in older age groups did so.

PAGB chief executive John Smith said: “Our research found there is scope to vastly expand and improve access to technology that helps people identify and manage self-treatable conditions. Each year there are 18 million GP appointments for self-treatable conditions, which do not need a doctor’s consultation. This costs the NHS £810m, money that could be reinvested elsewhere if more people were empowered to self care

“According to our research, younger people in particular want digital solutions in healthcare. Moreover, we found that around half of pharmacists (45 per cent) and GPs (60 per cent) agree that it would be beneficial to provide more information digitally to enable people to self care.

“However, this positive sentiment and appetite for change is not yet matched by action – we believe more could be done to utilise technology specifically to support people to self care.”

A PAGB report published alongside the survey considers ways in which technology can be used to promote self care.

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