Feeds

Got Sky but no computer? Book yourself a doctor's appointment

Appointments via telly

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Doctors' offices across the country are beginning to offer appointment bookings via TV set-top boxes and mobiles, adding to a list of network services for non-surfers or those not owning a computer.

EMIS, tech-services provider to the UK medical sector, reports that over 1,100 GP surgeries are now set up for its interactive TV and WAP services.

EMIS had already offered relatively conventional web booking setups, but the company felt it was also necessary to "reach those households across the digital divide". The idea is that there are many homes without conventional computer web access, but which do have a Sky, cable, or even Freeview box with a dial-up or broadband network connection. Similarly, it's thought that lots of wrong-side-of-the-digital-tracks people have a WAP phone.

Doc appointments at signed-up surgeries can be made, changed, or cancelled for free using the red button on the TV remote, provided the telly box has a net hookup. This is normal with Sky, common with cable, but relatively rare with Freeview kit.

Using WAP on a mobile involves no charge from the portal or the doctor, but the cell network will usually charge a varying data rate.

Sean Riddell, healthcare managing director of EMIS, said: "This is a significant milestone for GPs, practice staff, and patients. The technology is now in place to offer this free service to a far bigger audience using a range of technical platforms. We will be actively encouraging practices to switch on EMIS Access and start to realise the benefits."

Perhaps confirming certain prejudices about people who have no computer but are nonetheless willing to shell out hefty subscriptions for pay-TV packages, the EMIS release also seeks to push its other interactive government portals*.

"For instance, viewers of [interactive TV] and mobile phone users can look for a job by accessing the Jobcentre Plus database..." it says.

The language is directed not at the user, but the public-sector officials who ultimately sign EMIS' cheques.

"[Interactive TV] and mobile are now key channels for government service delivery in general, particularly to those with no internet access and limited PC skills who often have a high usage of government services."

Not much doubt who they're talking about there. If you often wear a tracksuit when you aren't doing exercise, EMIS want to hook you up to the government via the only channels they reckon you pay attention to - your telly and your non-web-capable mobile.

Could be a good idea, in general. There's one obvious problem with the doc-booking service in particular, however. A quarter of GP surgeries - disproportionately in deprived areas where Sky-loving/computer-lacking people live - won't offer advance appointments, which makes TV or mobile booking rather irrelevant. ®

*See comment by Sean Riddell, EMIS's Healthcare Managing Director.

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Twitter: La la la, we have not heard of any NUDE JLaw, Upton SELFIES
If there are any on our site it is not our fault as we are not a PUBLISHER
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?