5 super-convenient healthcare services you can use at home
Whether it’s checking a lump or treating a nasty cough, getting access to healthcare when you need it most is fundamental to our wellbeing
When we think of “digital health-tech", it might automatically conjure images of wearables and smartphone apps, which have been empowering people to proactively manage their health and wellbeing for years now.
Less widely understood, though, are the range of medical treatments and healthcare services now available to us from home, being harnessed to improve patient experiences and deliver better outcomes at all points of the care journey.
They’re tried and tested too. While it might be natural to be sceptical about the effectiveness and trustworthiness of technology in a healthcare setting, according to medical advisor Dr Kiran Johal these services are “checked to ensure safety, data protection and accessibility to be used within a health and social care setting”.
Care in the comfort of our own home is not just often more accessible and convenient, but it can also help cut travel costs. Sometimes getting to appointments can be a struggle if you’re in pain, have mobility problems or simply can’t travel.
Here are five areas that digital technology is revolutionising healthcare and making it far quicker and easier to access.
Access to a GP
Covid brought a watershed moment in which we all had to adapt to a more digital approach to everyday services. Since then, the world has never been the same, and one of the things that has stayed with us is remote access to care enabled through technology. A major part of this is the rise of virtual GPs.
Primary Care and doctor appointments make up more than 90% of a patient’s direct interactions with the NHS, so it’s important people can access this care when they need it most.
Between 2019 and 2021, Vitality witnessed a 70% increase in our remote GP service and more than 40% of health insurance claims were for primary care, which can include doctors’ appointments, prescriptions as well as dental and optometry (eye health) services (1).
Having a virtual GP appointment also means you can often receive an immediate decision for further care (should it be needed) - for example, 75% of all claims made via Vitality’s Care Hub receive an immediate decision (2).
Follow our guide on how to download the Vitality GP app and set up your next appointment.
Skin cancer prevention
Skin cancer was the second most common type of cancer claim for Vitality members in 2021, according to Vitality data (3).
While measures can be taken to prevent a skin cancer diagnosis, if a member with a qualifying Vitality health plan is worried about a mark, services like Skin Analytics use artificial intelligence (AI) to identify whether it is something they should be concerned about.
A special analysis kit is sent by post, containing a smartphone and dermoscopic (magnifying) lens, which takes high definition photos of the skin. These images will be analysed by a skin professional – a dermatologist – within 24 hours.
If further examination is needed, a Skin Analytics GP will contact the member for a consultation. And if there’s nothing to worry about, a report will be sent over.
Virtual physiotherapy offers an alternative way to get support from a physiotherapist without the need for face-to-face visits.
Treating a wide range of conditions from back and joint pain to sports injuries, the goal is to relieve symptoms you’re experiencing to get you back enjoying everyday activities.
Something that is traditionally done in person, a 2020 study found that digital treatment is just as effective as in-person treatment.
So, how does it work? Our physiotherapists take a holistic approach to recovery. They assess your individual situation and provide personalised treatment, such as specific exercises to relieve your pain and discomfort.
They're also there to answer any questions for give additional advice and guidance you might need to support your recovery and prevent future injuries from occurring.
Mental ill-health is a growing challenge for the UK. One in 10 Brits say that they experience symptoms of anxiety or depression, and one in five admitted to struggling with burnout (4).
Using online therapy gives a quick and simple way to access licensed therapists and psychotherapists. Without the need to have to travel to appointments, this can also be done in the comfort of your own home, in a familiar environment that might feel safer.
Talking Therapies - a service which has risen in demand fivefold since 2015 (5) - provides a variety of therapies, from counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to guided self-help. And that’s just scratching the surface, find out more here.
It’s important you feel comfortable during sessions, and, following an assessment, you will be directed to a practitioner that’s most suited to you. They offer different ways to carry out an appointment, including:
- Using a self-help workbook with the support of a therapist
- Online course
- One-to-one person session over the phone or video call
- Group session.
Vitality members with a qualifying health insurance plan can access eight online or face-to-face Talking Therapy sessions per plan year.
Also, digital health apps are now more accessible than ever, with over 350,000 apps now on the market. One of the most popular mental health apps is Vitality partner, Headspace.
Members using the Headspace app saw a 27% greater improvement in their mental wellbeing compare to those not using the app (6). It’s simple and easy to use with a library of meditation courses, sleepcasts and more.
Through the Vitality Programme you could get 12 months’ membership on us. All you need to do is log into Member Zone for more details.
Holistic cancer support
Healthcare technology is also evolving to better support the holistic wellbeing of an individual when they are undergoing treatment for cancer, to aid recovery and help lower the chances of it reoccurring – also known as ‘prehab’.
One example is Alvie Health, a cancer support app that helps by providing customised pathways during cancer treatment through a combination of nutritional tips, physiotherapy, specialist nurses and mental health support.
After an initial health assessment and consultation, a series of personal goals are set as part of a 12-week digital programme of health coaching and support designed to improve physical and emotional wellbeing.
“We create a 360-degree profile of each individual of their holistic health to understand where the health impairments are and then provide targeted interventions,” says Krishna Moorthy, cancer surgeon and founder of Alvie Health (formerly known as OnkoHealth).
“A personal health coach takes patients through a behaviour change programme to sustain areas such as their physical activity, nutrition and mental health during their cancer treatment to improve the chances of a positive outcome.”
After the programme, individuals can still reach out to the team and connect with experts through group-based exercises and events for ongoing support.
At Vitality, we know that a cancer diagnosis can be incredibly hard on any individual and their family. That’s why we offer our health insurance members a range of added support with our Advanced Cancer Cover.
Through Vitality, you could get access to a physiotherapist, dietician, psychologist or a clinical nurse specialist, as well as other professionals, to help you through your diagnosis and recovery.
Vitality also rewards you for keeping up to date on your health checks. Find out more information on how to earn points through regular health checks via Member Zone.
 Vitality data, 2022.
 Vitality data, 2022.
 Vitality data, 2021.
 Britain’s Healthiest Workplace 2022, Vitality and RAND Europe.
 Vitality data, 2021-2022.
 Vitality data, 2022.
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