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).
Following the announcement of our exciting new mHealth partnership with Thomas Cook, we’re delighted to announce that Now GP has been declared ‘App of the Week’ by The Sunday People:
“This lets you speak to an English-speaking UK-based doctor while you go through a video consultation while you are abroad. It can be used in countries both in and out of the EU. Electronic prescriptions can be made available to collect from any local pharmacy.”
This fantastic achievement for Now GP and the Now Healthcare Group is complimented by more major national press coverage, with news of our new travel partnership with Thomas Cook also reported by The Telegraph, The i, The Mirror as well as several major travel and digital healthcare publications.
In case you missed the news, we’ve partnered with Thomas Cook to provide people on holiday with free access to the Now GP app. Customers with Thomas Cook travel insurance can connect to a doctor through remote video consultation via our smartphone app for advice, diagnosis and prescriptions when they fall ill whilst on holiday.
In his latest blog, CEO & Founder of Now Healthcare Group Lee Dentith discusses the role mHealth can play in helping the government to fulfill its seven-day service promise.
The government’s proposed seven-day service has been much discussed in the healthcare industry, and of course, there is much uncertainty surrounding its feasibility and how the goal of providing patients with a more convenient service can ultimately be achieved.
I do feel very passionate about the importance of people in our country being able to access healthcare whenever they should need it. You can never predict when you’re going to fall ill, and it’s imperative that we as a nation are in a position to provide people with an efficient and reliable healthcare service, regardless of what time of day it is or whether it’s a Monday or Sunday.
I was very intrigued to read the thoughts of GPC Chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, in this recent article by Pulse. I couldn’t agree more that it’s imperative that we are using our resources wisely in order to help those who are in need of healthcare the most.
For me, as the founder and CEO of Europe’s leading mHealth company Now Healthcare Group, the challenge to fulfil the seven-day service promise is essentially the premise of our business model; we’ve made it perfectly clear that our intention has always been to ensure that people in the UK, and indeed globally, will have access to healthcare when and where they need it.
The mHealth industry continues to go from strength to strength, and it’s incredibly encouraging that businesses and the general consumer are starting to sit up and take note of the potential that the innovative technology carries. This is exemplified by our exciting new partnership with Thomas Cook, which will see us provide our service to UK residents whilst they are abroad on holiday.
It’s clear to me that mHealth simply must be considered by the National Health Service in order to make the dream of a seven-day primary healthcare service a reality. As Dr Nagpaul says, the service is severely underfunded and it’s imperative that any resources it does have are not wasted in areas which will see doctors sat in empty surgeries on a Sunday whilst patients elsewhere continue to struggle to see their GP urgently.
mHealth services such as Now GP provide patients with the opportunity to see an NHS-qualified GP as and when they need. Our aforementioned partnership with Thomas Cook, plus some of our other agreements with the likes of Schools Advisory Service, are concrete proof that people in this country are actively seeking an mHealth solution to make healthcare more convenient and accessible for them.
The coming months will undoubtedly see more big questions asked of the government and its intentions; I for one remain hopeful that, through the adoption of such fantastic and beneficial technology, the seven-day promise can be fulfilled in a smarter, more convenient and cost-effective way.
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In his latest blog, CEO & Founder of Now Healthcare Group looks at more worrying statistics concerning NHS appointment waiting times and how mHealth services such as Now GP can be used to alleviate strain on the nation’s healthcare system.
As the strain and pressures on the National Health Service continue to mount, patients continue to suffer from an inefficient and increasingly unreliable service. Pulse Today revealed last week that another survey has been conducted which makes for bleak reading for those in the healthcare sector.
Many of you won’t be surprised to hear that this worrying news is related to GP appointment waiting times which have, of course, once again increased. The survey, answered by over 830 respondents, reveals that the average waiting time to see a doctor in this country is now 13 days. This is up from 10 days on the same period for last year, meaning that the average GP appointment waiting time has increased by 30% annually.
It’s estimated that a 17 day wait for a GP appointment could be the norm by 2017
To make matters worse, it is anticipated that this figure will increase next year – many are already suggesting a 17 day wait could be the norm by June 2017.
Earlier this month it was revealed that some GP practices had been forced to stop providing bookable appointments and only accepting patients seeking emergency consultations due to continued workload pressures. As these kind of drastic measures become more and more commonplace across the UK, it’s obvious that the general practice crisis is having a real effect on patients.
“Waiting two weeks for an appointment… is dangerous for patients and incredibly risky” – Lee Dentith
My concern is that waiting two weeks for an appointment is much more than just an inconvenience – it’s dangerous for patients and incredibly risky. At Now Healthcare Group we regularly champion the importance of early intervention when it comes to primary care issues; the quicker a GP can spot and diagnose a problem, the quicker you can be on your way back to full health. Waiting two weeks for health advice can see issues worsen, making them more difficult to cure and increasing the risk of it becoming more serious.
On top of this, it’s very impractical for those patients who work on a full-time basis; they’re forced to either take time off work to attend a clinic, or potentially spread their sickness around the office through what is known as the “presenteeism” problem.
What’s frustrating from our point of view is that our service has been designed to combat this ongoing appointment crisis. Mobile health solutions such as Now GP are intended to alleviate pressures on the NHS by making appointments more accessible – the majority of our patients are able to speak to a qualified GP within ten minutes of requesting an appointment.
Simply put, the NHS needs to embrace services such as Now GP in order to ensure that the quality and reliability of healthcare that people in the UK receive does not fall. By offering patients access to mHealth platforms, the NHS will be able to significantly reduce appointment waiting times, demand in general and make healthcare generally more accessible and convenient for people. We’re not looking to compete with the NHS in the primary care market – we want to work together to put an end to this rapidly spiraling accessibility problem.
You can read more of my thoughts on LinkedInor follow me onTwitter.