Healthcare IT system supplier EMIS claims the NHS could save almost £300m a year if all UK adults used online appointment booking and repeat prescription requesting.
The company says its EMIS Access system is currently used 230,000 times a month by patients to book and cancel appointments, order repeat prescriptions and view their records.
It estimates it is saving the NHS £1.3m a year, which could rise to almost £300m if all UK adults made similar use of the service.
EMIS has based its figures on information from the Windmill Health Centre in Leeds, which estimates that it takes an average of 2.5 minutes to book an appointment or process a repeat prescription by phone, with receptionist costs of 43.3p per transaction.
Windmill Health Centre offers its patients EMIS Access through their home computer, mobile phone or digital TV box. Practice manager Malcolm Scanlan said the service was used by a wide range of patients, including many in their seventies.
He added: “Since we introduced EMIS Access call volumes to the surgery have decreased significantly – to the extent that we are saving hours on the phone each week. And because patients can book and cancel appointments to suit them the number of DNAs has plummeted.”
EMIS said its free EMIS Access service is used by more than 1,700 GP practices which equates to just under a third of its practices and under a fifth of all UK practices.
Sean Riddell, managing director of EMIS, said: “EMIS Access is a great example of how digital public services can save money by putting people, not organisations, in control.”
Last week Kaiser Permanente told E-Health Insider that 3m patients, about a third of its patients, now book appointments, order repeat prescriptions and view test results through their patient health record and had recorded a significant drop in patient-physician office visits.
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