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Aviva Health launches ‘babylon’, Ireland’s first GP consultation service via smartphone

New research reveals 4 out of 5 adults have gone online to self-diagnose1

Dublin, 25th February 2015: New research has shown that 4 out of 5 (81%) Irish adults have gone online seeking to self-diagnose, with 46% reporting increased stress or worry as result of their search1. Almost one third (32%) said they can’t get a GP appointment in a surgery at a time that suits them while 1 in 3 (33%) said it was difficult to get time off work to visit a GP1.

These are among the findings of a survey undertaken on behalf of Aviva Health Insurance in advance of the launch of a new benefit, ‘babylon health’, which allows its customers to have fully covered face to face GP consultations with an experienced Irish registered GP through their smartphone.  Aviva is the first and only health insurer to offer this innovative new digital service to its customers. The new GP consultation service is available at no extra cost* to new members on selected plans who buy between 2nd March to 30th April 2015.  The survey of over one thousand Irish adults found that 63% would be interested in using a SKYPE type GP Service, with more than half (53%) stating it would give them peace of mind over any health concerns1

Over three quarters (78%) who use the internet to research their medical concerns cited speed of diagnosis as their number one reason for doing so1.

GPs are the first port of call for the majority of adults (64%) seeking information about their health1.  However, respondents (64%) complained that their appointments never started on time while 62% said they disliked sitting in a waiting room with sick people1.

Dr Barra O’Tuama, Babylon health GP said: “This survey shows that patients want and are comforted by seeing a GP. It also shows us that many are relying on online self-diagnosis because they can’t manage to get to the doctor’s surgery. This obviously raises concerns from a medical perspective.  A service like babylon health allows Aviva customers to talk to a GP who can understand their health concerns, make an informed diagnosis on the basis of their symptoms and medical history and prescribe or refer appropriately.  If the consulting GP feels a physical examination is required, the patient will be advised to visit their own GP or local A&E service as appropriate. In this way, the babylon service will complement existing GP services.”

James Parker, CEO, Aviva Health Insurance said, “With this cutting-edge benefit, Aviva is able to offer genuine, enhanced value at no extra cost to customers on some of our most competitively priced plans. We are unique in the market in offering three free GP consultations on a range of entry level plans.  Babylon Health enables customers who buy selected Aviva plans, to make an appointment in seconds and see an experienced Irish registered GP in minutes without leaving the comfort of their home or office.

“This product increases access to GP services and gives our customers more choice and value so that they can look after their health using the latest technology for early and convenient intervention.  We believe this new benefit will be especially attractive to those entering the market for the first time in advance of Life time Community Rating,” added Mr Parker.

Ali Parsa, CEO and founder of babylon health said: “Having a health issue is problematic enough, but seeing a doctor shouldn't be. By combining the most advanced technology with the best Irish doctors, babylon makes it possible for all to make an appointment in seconds, have their consultation in minutes, and get their prescription wherever they are. We are very happy to partner with Aviva Health Insurance, to offer a high quality clinical experience that is patient friendly, affordable and convenient, hopefully transforming how people access and experience healthcare.”​​

Users of the babylon service can book an appointment between the hours of 8am to 8pm Monday to Saturday, excluding bank holidays with 95% of appointments within 30 minutes of booking. All babylon health GPs are registered with the Irish Medical Council and work in traditional GP practices as well.  There are currently over 5,000 users registered with babylon in the UK and 95% of users have rated their experience 5 out of 5. An average of 7% of consultations in the UK requires a follow-up visit to a GP in the traditional surgery setting2.

References:

  1. The survey was carried out by Empathy Research from 26th January – 8th February 2015 among 1004 participants and is nationally representative of 18+ year olds living in the Republic of Ireland. It was quota controlled by age, gender and region.
  2. Source: babylon health