Health Anxiety is a condition many of us will typically link to hypochondria and can often be associated with OCD. Those affected are typically convinced that harmless physical symptoms are indicators of serious disease or severe medical conditions.
Although 1 in 5 outpatients using the NHS are thought to be experiencing health anxiety at some level, only 1 in 10 of these patients are diagnosed and it is thought that the challenges health anxiety present to those who experience it and the pressure it puts on the heath service costs an estimated £400 million a year.
The bigger picture is that individuals who don’t experience the severity of symptoms that characterise health anxiety but do over worry about their health, clog up GP surgeries and cost over £2 billion a year. With an increased pressure on the NHS as a whole, and GP surgeries in particular, individuals looking for reassurance can turn to a whole host of unregulated solutions including overpriced online prescription services, DIY health checks and of course, the wealth of information available on the internet.
At best, these solutions can lead to heightened levels of concern but at worst can lead to addictions to prescription drugs, financial difficulties and increased levels of stress, uncertainty and panicked pressure on our health services.
At Elephant, we believe that the effective facilitation of a regulated, accessible self health facility could not only dramatically reduce the financial impact of health anxiety on the NHS but could also provide regulated, informed and insightful reassurance to the individuals that worry about their health.
Our health kiosks allow individuals to self check a whole variety of basic health indicators for both physical and mental health, providing immediate reassurance and insight to patients whilst immediately connecting to patient records, helping the NHS get a clearer understanding of the nature and impact health anxiety is having on our society as a whole.
We are currently rolling out our self health kiosks across the UK and hope that they will soon become common place throughout the NHS. Until that point, however, our recommendation for anyone experiencing health anxiety is to use only NHS approved services including their online information service and 101 telephone line.
If you would like to learn more about our self health kiosks, please contact us using firstname.lastname@example.org