In his latest blog, CEO & Founder of Now Healthcare Group Lee Dentith discusses the importance of patient safety in digital healthcare, following the closure of two services deemed unsafe by the Care Quality Commission.
In October 2016 I was overwhelmed with pride when my company Now Healthcare Group, just two years into its existence, was inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and found to be the first and only digital health provider in the UK meeting all regulations.
Our service, the way we care for our patients and our commitment to providing healthcare of the highest standard were all deemed exemplary. Our performance in the inspection was judged to be so positive that it saw us selected to set the standard for all future digital healthcare inspections – a standard which all other providers must now adhere to if they wish to continue operations in the UK…
CEO & Founder of Now GP’s parent company Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, discusses how digital healthcare can significantly improve employee wellbeing and reduce employer costs.
To some, the link between digital healthcare services and the workplace might not be quite as obvious as the former’s link with the NHS. The National Health Service is crying out for the adoption of tech in order to ease the burden on the system, whereas businesses might not always consider employee healthcare as a top priority. However, the benefits of digital healthcare for both employees and employers cannot be underestimated. Here are several ways that digital healthcare can transform the workplace.
Reduce staff sickness through early intervention
This is where employers start to sit up and take note – you may be surprised to hear that staff sickness costs businesses in the UK a staggering £29 BILLION each year, with over 130 working days lost annually. Unfortunately, there is an overlap here with the NHS’ current problems – when employees start to feel unwell, they are left with lengthy waits to see a doctor (the average waiting time for a GP appointment currently stands at 13 days), in which time their illness has already escalated. This forces them to stay home and take sick days.
Digital health apps, which connect patients to doctors and nurses remotely within minutes, ensure that potential illness is tackled as soon as possible, eliminating the need for numerous sick days and the avoiding hassle of taking time off work to attend appointments.
Medicines delivered to the office
Our health apps (Now GP/Dr Now) include medicine delivery directly to an employee’s home or office address. This allows users to connect to a doctor remotely when they first wake up feeling under the weather, receive a professional diagnosis and – in some locations – have the medicine on their desk by lunchtime. It’s all part of making healthcare quicker and more convenient for people, intervening early and stopping sickness as soon as it begins to strike.
Combat the problem of presenteeism
While some employees may take time off when they are too ill to work, there are others – 68%, to be precise – who will continue to go to work even if they are unwell. While some may read this as a good thing, it’s actually the opposite – presenteeism, as it’s known, is a serious problem for UK businesses and sees sickness spread throughout the office, taking down an entire bank, team or even division in a matter of days.
Again, poor access to NHS appointments is a major cause of this as people simply can’t afford to take weeks off work. By providing employees with digital health access through mHealth service or white-labelled apps, they can be seen quickly and efficiently, and receive fit notes and fit to work certificates on the same day to determine whether they can come into the office risk-free.
Mental health benefits
9 in 10 major US employers are expected to turn to telehealth within the next year, and we need to see a similar uptake in the UK. An area which has incredible potential is mental health – conditions such as stress and workplace anxiety affect 25% of all employees in the UK, with many feeling uncomfortable discussing it with their employer. By providing remote access to counselling services remotely, employees are just a few taps away from chatting to a professional when things get a bit too much.
The sky is the limit when it comes to the adoption of digital healthcare in the workplace. It’s anticipated that 97% of all large US companies will offer telehealth in some form to their employees by 2019, and I’m hopeful that the UK can follow its lead in this field. Whether it’s simply providing employees with better access to appointments, or utilising the latest wearable technology to monitor sickness trends and safeguard against the spread of sickness, digital healthcare no doubt has a major role to play in the future of workplace wellbeing.
You can read more of my thoughts on LinkedIn (Mr Lee Dentith) and you can also follow me on Twitter.
In his latest blog, CEO & Founder of Now GP’s parent company Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, discusses our status as the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator’s only telehealth provider and our ambitions to integrate our technology into the National Health Service.
NHS Digital: It’s been a pleasure to be involved with NHS Digital at recent events, where I’ve enjoyed a number of exciting discussions with some of our fellow Accelerator partners.
I was delighted to recently come across news of a new “Accelerated Access Review” report, which recognises the role of DigitalHealth.London in accelerating the adoption of digital innovation in healthcare. This positive report is testament to the incredible work being done through the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator scheme, which Now Healthcare Group (Now GP/Dr Now) is so proud to be a part of.
The report, commissioned by the government and led by an independent chair, championed the new Accelerator scheme and its ambitions to allow the NHS to embrace new technologies by linking health and care organisations with digital health innovators such as ourselves. It makes several clear recommendations on reforms to help speed up patients’ access to healthcare technologies. It’s encouraging to see that those behind the review share our ambitions to ensure that the UK becomes a world-leader in healthcare innovation through an NHS which embraces the technology that patients in today’s on-the-go society need.
“This government has a strong commitment to the life sciences and to building a long-term partnership with the life sciences industry. We are determined to make the UK the best place in the world to develop new drugs and other products that can transform the health of patients.
“The report provides us with a strong basis to make the right decisions about how the health system can be adapted to meet the challenges of the future, attract inward investment, grow the thriving life science industry and use innovation to improve patient outcomes and tackle the financial pressures on the NHS.”
Health Minister Lord Prior
A recent change in circumstances have seen a similar company withdraw from the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme as it focuses its efforts on markets elsewhere. This leaves Now Healthcare Group in the luxurious position of being the singular telehealth provider to be a part of this potentially revolutionary Accelerator scheme, which is of course incredibly exciting for us as a business.
As a company we firmly believe that we are the clear market leader in this exciting telehealth industry, and I remain more confident than ever that we are truly ready and able to input our technology into the NHS to help combat many of the issues being faced by our nation’s healthcare service. Better access to technology for the NHS means better access to healthcare for its patients, and our ultimate ambition is to provide the nation with a convenient care and a more accessible health system.
You can read more of my thoughts on LinkedIn (Mr Lee Dentith), and you can also follow me on Twitter.
The Now GP/Dr Now team are at today’s annual NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester, where Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is set to announce the arrival of mHealth and app-based online health services into the NHS.
This marks a significant breakthrough for mHealth companies such as ourselves, who have long since championed the benefits that embracing technology can bring to the health service and to its patients.
Hunt will announce later today “a multi-million pound package” to expand digital services across the NHS, which will including a new online triage service to enhance the current 111 service and out of hours care.
“We live in the age of the smartphone, and we want the NHS to reflect that. Our new plans will make it easier for patients to get the medical support and information they need, and should encourage more of us to use the growing range of online NHS services.”
Services such as our Now GP/Dr Now mHealth can be white-labelled and custom-built for NHS CCGs and surgeries, helping them to combat the problem of waiting times and reduce the strain on the healthcare system and out of hours services. By embracing mHealth apps, the NHS will also be more able to deliver its goal of seven day access by pooling qualified GPs, nurses and specialists into a convenient and accessible healthcare app.
Our app connects patients with independent NHS doctors who deliver advice and diagnosis via remote video consultations. We also have an NHS-registered pharmacy which is able to deliver medicines directly to a patient’s home and serve repeat NHS prescriptions.
As the mHealth industry continues to expand, we’re turning our attention to the power of artificial intelligence, wearable technology and “big data” analytics to direct patients to the care and treatment they need. Early intervention is a key aspect of delivering effective primary care, and we want to allow patients to get the care they need at the earliest opportunity – in some cases, before they even realise they are ill themselves.
We’re delighted with the direction that the NHS is heading and its desire to utilise such innovative technology is very pleasing to see. Look out for more exciting news from Now GP/Dr Now in the near future.
For the latest in healthcare and innovation, follow @NowGPand @DrNow on Twitter.