What role does digital healthcare have to play in an NHS primary care setting? CEO & Founder of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, discusses in his latest blog as GP practices are tasked with ensuring that 20% of patients use online health services.
I have long since championed the incredible potential of digital healthcare services, particularly apps, and the hugely important role that they will play in the NHS over the years to come.
At a time when our National Health Service is faced with continuous pressures and placed under ever-increasing strain, it is evidently clear that healthcare apps that connect patients with a doctor remotely could significantly ease the burden on the NHS, both financially and in terms of relieving pressure.
A recent article I read in Pulse carried some very encouraging news for those of us in the digital health industry, concerning new non-contractual terms between NHS Employers and the GPC (General Practitioners Committee).
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…
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.
We’ve been selected to establish best practice for digital healthcare and health apps in the UK under Jeremy Hunt’s new plans to bring health tech into the NHS.
Now Healthcare Group is delighted to announce that it is the first and only digital healthcare provider to meet all regulations set by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following a recent investigation.
This makes the Now Healthcare Group (NHG) the first mobile health app service to be declared “safe” by the CQC. Several other health apps have entered the marketplace recently, all of which have either not yet been inspected, are not registered or have not yet applied to register with the CQC.
As the first mobile health company to be visited by the regulatory body, Now Healthcare Group was exclusively selected for an Independent Health Pilot in order to assist the CQC in implementing best practice for health tech in the UK and laying the foundations for all future digital healthcare quality control.
NHG has received a Quality Report from the CQC, which recognises the tech company’s innovation, doctors, commitment to patient safety and service provision. The results of this investigation see NHG now setting the high standards which the rest of the digital health industry must adhere to going forwards.
Now Healthcare Group is the company behind the revolutionary Now GP and Dr Now mobile health apps, which are the world’s first health apps to both diagnose and deliver medicines, connecting patients to NHS GPs via smartphone video call. The services currently serve over one million users, with insurers such as Thomas Cook and Cigna using the platform to provide their customers with convenient, flexible healthcare.
At a time when online pharmacies are under increasing scrutiny due to recent undercover investigations which revealed instances of over-diagnosis, the CQC has found that NHG is treating patients in line with best practice guidelines, maintaining appropriate medical records and constantly monitoring prescriptions and consultations. All GPs working for NHG are NHS GPs in their own right, and hold a minimum qualification of MRCGP.
This exciting development follows Jeremy Hunt’s recent announcement at the Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester, in which he stated that the NHS is to look towards mobile health technologies and apps in a bid to reduce the pressures on the current health system. Now GP/Dr Now is currently looking to provide white-labelled health apps to CCGs, surgeries and 111/out of hours services to help the NHS meet its seven day access targets.
Founder and CEO of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, made the following comment:
“Becoming the first mobile health service to meet CQC regulations demonstrates the positive steps Now Healthcare Group is making as a healthcare provider, and it’s an honour to be selected to set the high standards which the rest of the industry must now follow.
“This CQC Quality Report, coupled with our involvement with the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator, reaffirms my belief that our service will be fully implemented cross the whole of the NHS in the coming years. We are aiming to be able to provide 100 million consultations in the next 3-5 years and also want to capitalise on technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to help patients take better control of their healthcare and reduce pressures on the NHS.”
Example quotes from the CQC Quality Report:
“GPs told us that they received excellent support if there were any technical issues or clinical queries.”
“Patients were treated in line with best practice guidance and appropriate medical records were maintained.”
“There were clinical governance systems and processes in place to ensure the quality of service provision.”
“Prescribing was constantly monitored and all consultations were monitored for any risks.”
“We reviewed a sample of anonymised consultation records that demonstrated appropriate record keeping and patient treatment.”
“[The service] identified the need for patients who may be unable to get an appointment with their NHS GP or who prefer a more flexible service.”
“We reviewed three recruitment files which showed the necessary documentation was available.”
“We reviewed six anonymised medical records which demonstrated notes had been adequately completed. GPs had access to all previous notes within the Now GP / Dr Now system.”
“The doctors providing the service were aware of both the strengths (speed, convenience, choice of time), and the limitations (inability to perform physical examination) of working remotely from patients. They worked carefully to maximise the benefits and minimise the risk for patients.”
“The provider told us that they had a clear vision to work together to provide a high quality responsive service that put caring and patient safety at its heart.”
“There was a range of service specific policies and process flow charts which were available to all staff.”
“There were a variety of daily, weekly and monthly checks in place to monitor the performance of the service.”
“A comprehensive understanding of the performance of the service was maintained.”
“Care and treatment records were complete, legible and accurate, and securely kept.”
“The service consistently sought ways to improve. All staff were involved in discussions about how to run and develop the service, and were encouraged to identify opportunities to improve the service delivered.”
“As the management team and IT teams worked together at the HQ there was ongoing discussions at all times about service provision.”
For the latest news and updates on digital healthcare, follow @NowGP 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.
Now Healthcare Group is delighted to announce that it has successfully completed its first remote video consultation in Asia, connecting a patient in Hong Kong to a GP based in the UK through the Now GP mobile app.
This latest significant breakthrough for Now Healthcare Group sees it expand into the Asian market for the first time, meaning it is the world’s first mobile healthcare provider to conduct consultations in Europe, North America and Asia, as well as mid-air on board a Dubai-bound flight from London.
The Hong Kong-based patient was connected to a doctor through the Now GP smartphone app, which uses cloud-based technology to allow users to have a video consultation with a qualified doctor in the palm of their hand, whenever, wherever.
The patient, a UK citizen based in Hong Kong, made the appointment as they were looking to discuss some minor health concerns, as well as seeking general health advice and tips on how they can improve their wellbeing. The patient enjoyed a clear and helpful consultation, with zero disruption and was extremely satisfied with the advice provided.
The patient, who wishes to remain unnamed, said:
“I had read about the service offered by Now GP online and knew it worked internationally, but I wasn’t expecting the technology to work so smoothly. I had a great chat with a doctor and I’m very grateful for the advice I was given. I’m often based in Hong Kong for business so it can be a real struggle getting access to healthcare but I’ll definitely be using it again. I couldn’t fault it.”
CEO and Founder of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, said:
“We were thrilled to hear about yet another successful international consultation, and this marks a very historic moment in Now Healthcare Group’s history as we move into Asia for the first time. Our tech team deserve great credit for ensuring our system works flawlessly on an international scale and we’re excited to be able to bring our service to people all over the world.”
This latest development comes at an exciting time for Now Healthcare Group, with further innovative projects and platforms in the pipeline. As the Group expands its service internationally, it edges ever closer to its long-term ambition of being able to provide as many people as possible with an effective and convenient healthcare solution.
For the latest healthcare discussion and Now Healthcare news, follow @NowGP on Twitter.
In today’s blog, CEO and Founder of Now GP Lee Dentith looks at the alarming figures revealed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre and how this will affect patients.
Today’s report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre further highlighted the worrying plight of our country’s healthcare service. Figures show that the average GP practice in the United Kingdom has seen its patient list grow by 2% in just eight months.
2% perhaps doesn’t sound that severe, but if you take into account that this represents about 169 additional patients for certain UK practices to deal with, it has the potential to be incredibly detrimental to the NHS’s ability to look after our nation’s primary healthcare safely.
It’s estimated by Pulse that, should this trend continue, the year on year growth rate for patient numbers in 2015-16 will be 3.5%. What we’re seeing is a significant drop in GP practice numbers combined with a 0.9% increase in the total number of patients registered with a GP across England. The numbers, quite simply, do not add up – we’re seeing local practices and surgeries close at an alarming rate, with as many as 25,000 patients set to lose access to their current GP in the rest of this year alone.
As patient numbers grow, this puts those remaining surgeries under increased pressure. More patients and less doctors can lead to several worrying conclusions, each having an injurious effect on those placed under this added and unnecessary strain.
We can expect these new figures to cause target waiting times to spiral further out of control. With more of us needing access to a GP for our primary healthcare concerns, but with surgeries busier than ever before, it seems clear to me that the health sector needs to think differently to ensure the level of care our nation is provided with does not diminish.
We need to think smarter about the way our patients can receive the primary care that they need, and attention must turn to more alternative, convenient services. In just three years we’ve seen the number of patients forced to wait for a week to see their GP increase by a third – this makes for staggering reading, and it’s imperative that something is done to help.
We live in a time when opportunities for digital and technical innovation are vast, yet the NHS – a pillar of our society for so many years – is dragging its heels and failing to appropriately adapt. We’re working hard to bring our mHealth solution to the masses in an effort to make healthcare convenient and accessible for everyone once again.
For more of Lee’s thoughts, follow him on Twitteror connect on LinkedIn.
At Now Healthcare Group, we’re proud of our commitment to the latest innovations in the digital healthcare market. Since launching the Now GP app last year, we’ve made significant progress in our ambition to establish ourselves as the world’s premier pre-emptive healthcare platform. As we head into 2016 at full steam, we’re focusing on the development of complex unique algorithmic solutions which will enhance our mHealth diagnostic platform – utilising the potential that the growing wearable health sector holds.
An exciting announcement from Samsung last week saw the unveiling of a new ‘Bio-Processor’ which will be specifically designed for the monitoring and computing of physiological metrics such as heart rate, skin temperature, body fat, heart rhythm, muscle mass and stress levels. In a nutshell, the new complex data processor will allow us to analyse the human body and its wellbeing in more detail than ever before.
The new bio-processor differs from previous pieces of hardware, with its actual CPU an ARM Cortex-M4 – a processor mainly connected with microcontrollers in the industrial and scientific industries. This will increase the capabilities of wearable devices when it comes to health monitoring and analysis.
The wearables market has been of keen interest to the Now GP development team for some time now. We’ve commenced tireless work over the last twelve months testing and developing algorithms and multi-language, diverse coding platforms in order to fully utilise the complete benefits of the latest processing technology – all in an effort to bring it to the market through our app as soon as possible.
With the ever-increasing popularity of smart devices such as the Apple Watch in mind, the Now GP app will be able to provide our patients with a wealth of information to help them analyse their own healthcare trends, monitor their heart rates and much much more – all thanks to potential integration with complex processors such as those developed by the likes of Samsung. Through the introduction of Now GP to wearable devices, the already-popular app will be brought to life even further through this new exciting dimension.
With the Now GP platform already able to diagnose patients and deliver medicines via remote video consultation, wearables integration will further enhance the all-round healthcare offering we provide our users. Look out for more exciting news in 2016!
A recent YouGov poll has shown that more than 66% of adults in the United Kingdom believe that healthcare providers such as the NHS could and should use modern technology more in order to increase efficiency, improve patient outcomes and raise the overall patient experience.
As the public become more and more adept with technology and as new platforms develop and grow, there appears to be a strong feeling amongst Britons that new technology could bring with it a number of benefits to a National Health Service that is facing increasing pressure in terms of financial struggles and meeting the demands of patients.
The NHS has already put some plans in place to ensure that technology becomes a part of its service, such as the promise to provide all UK citizens with access to their GP records online by the end of the year. However, many feel that more advanced technology – such as telehealth – could bring more immediate benefits to the health system.
As the NHS faces more demand than ever from the British population, video consultations could make a huge difference in terms of ensuring that all patients receive the care they need from a qualified GP. Nearly half of UK adults surveyed stated that they would support the NHS giving patients the option of virtual consultations, with telehealth platforms such as Now GP designed to ease pressure on the health service by providing a convenient and reliable alternative to primary healthcare appointments at the local surgery.
Over 75% of UK adults believe that apps should be approved by the NHS in order to improve the experience of patients in the country. At a time when the National Health Service is under more scrutiny than ever, state of the art technology such as a Now GP can be a way for it transform the experience of patinets whilst easing pressure on itself.