A new survey by Accenture has revealed that UK patients have embraced the sudden switch to virtual healthcare and communications as a result of COVID-19 with a strong majority (87%) reporting that the quality of care was as good or better than before.

In the survey, involving 2,700 oncology, cardiology, or immunology patients, 53% of British patients expressed the desire to continue using technology more for communicating with healthcare providers and managing conditions, based on their experiences during the pandemic.

During the pandemic, 42% of UK patients also started getting some treatment at home instead visiting their healthcare provider’s premises and began using virtual tools such as video conference calls, online chat and apps.

More than half (59%) who used video conferencing said it was very good or excellent, which Accenture notes is particularly impressive given that 70% were using video conferencing for treatment for the first time.

“Along with the move to virtual forms of care and communication came a sense of greater satisfaction with the care provided for many UK patients,” commented Jean Liao, UK patient services lead at Accenture.

“A larger than expected proportion said they felt care was more personal, more convenient and timelier. Rather than having to commute to a doctor’s office or treatment facility and undergo the stress of sitting in a waiting room for their turn, care was now being administered at home – in a setting, time and place where people felt more comfortable. A good many also said the information they received was better.”

Forty-nine percent of British patients reported better, more personalised responses; 31% said quicker responses and 47% felt it was more convenient to access through new communications channels.

Also of note, 61% and 40% patients said their trust in healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies has increased, respectively.