The Role of Digital Healthcare in the NHS

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.

lee dentith nhs digital

 

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.

businessman touching digital health screens

“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.


Choice is Important: 10% of Patients ‘Never’ See Their Preferred GP

CEO and Founder of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, discusses the importance of doctor choice and being able to see your preferred GP, one of the many benefits available through our Now GP mHealth app.

lee-headshot

At Now Healthcare Group, we’re incredibly proud to be able to give our mHealth app patients a flexible service which offers convenience and – crucially – choice.

The satisfaction of our patients is something we take extremely seriously, and in the early stages of developing our smartphone apps we spent a long time conducting extensive market research and analysing feedback from our beta-testing stages to ensure we were giving customers exactly what they wanted.

One thing which came to light at this stage was just how much patients value the option to select from a large pool of doctors and make a conscious decision about who they wish to have a consultation with. When it comes to discussing sensitive issues such as your personal health and wellbeing, it’s imperative to feel comfortable with who you’re speaking to – rather than it being an automatic decision made by the app, Now GP gives users the chance to choose exactly who they speak to.

doctor choice now gp screenshot

The main benefits of this are obvious when you think about it. Many patients feel more comfortable about discussing particular health concerns with a doctor of their own gender, for example – Now GP allows you to choose between male and female GPs, which is also a popular feature for patients of certain religious beliefs and traditions.

It also brings added convenience and practically for any follow-up consultations that a patient may have – being able to see a doctor which they’ve already had a consultation is beneficial for both the doctor and the patient.


“One in ten patients never or almost never get to see their preferred doctor.”


Sadly, the convenience and doctor choice offered by our mHealth service isn’t mirrored in the National Health Service, with the latest GP Patient Survey revealing that the number of patients who regularly get to see their preferred GP continues to decline. It found that one in ten patients “never or almost never” get to see their preferred doctor.

Other notable findings from the new survey include over a quarter of patients (26%) claiming that they had difficulty getting through to someone at their preferred GP surgery on the phone and that the number of patients who “always” get to see their preferred doctor choice has fallen by over 6% in the last four years.

As healthcare access and flexibility continues to diminish in the NHS, we’re very proud to be offering our patients an alternative that matches their expectations and brings choice and convenience back to the industry.


You can read more of my thoughts on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter.

 


Schools Advisory Service to Provide 100,000 with Instant GP Access

The leading school staff absence insurance provider will be using the Now GP app to reduce teacher absence and minimise disruption to children’s education in the UK.

Now Healthcare Group is delighted to announce a new partnership alongside Schools Advisory Service, the leading provider of staff absence insurance for schools and academies in the United Kingdom.

Schools Advisory Service will be introducing access to the Now GP mobile application to its 100,000 members, who work across 3,500 schools nationwide, from 1 April.

The partnership will enable teachers to have a convenient consultation via smartphone with a UK-based GP doctor at the touch of a button. They’ll also be able to receive their prescriptions and/or medicines as quickly as possible through Now GP’s integrated pharmacy system – helping them get back to work sooner or avoid taking time off.

The arrangement replaces Schools Advisory Service’s previous GP telephone service.

Recent figures show that 2.7 million teaching days are lost each year through sickness, with education professionals losing 10.2 days annually and an average of 4.5% of their working time. By partnering with Now Healthcare Group, Schools Advisory Service is taking steps to ensure that the education of our children is left uninterrupted by attempting to reduce the amount of time teachers lose to sickness.

Current regulations mean that when teachers are absent from work schools are unable to claim money to cover sickness for three days. By providing teachers with early access to a GP, this partnership will attempt to ensure that the majority of teachers will be able to stay in work thanks to early intervention when they fall ill – saving schools around the country money.

Director of Schools Advisory Service, Les Marshall, said:

“Our new service from Now Healthcare Group will be an essential element of trying to prevent and reduce staff absences in schools. This service is just what teachers have been asking us to provide for years and to finally be able to provide a service of the highest quality from the market leader demonstrates why Schools Advisory Service is the UK’s largest supplier of staff absence insurance.”

Founder & CEO of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, said:

“Now Healthcare Group is thrilled to be working with Schools Advisory Service through this exclusive partnership. We’re looking to significantly reduce the number of sickness days lost by teachers and education workers by giving them access to a GP immediately through our mobile app platform, Now GP. Our partnership will benefit schools, teachers and children alike as we look to minimise disruption to pupils’ education across the country.”


London to be Hit Hard by Surgery Closures

CEO and Founder of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, looks at the weekend’s worrying GP surgery news, with one in five practices in London expected to close down within the next three years.


Rising demand for appointments, doctor shortages and unmanageable workloads will play havoc with primary healthcare in the capital in the coming months. New research among 644 surgeries has confirmed the worst for London practices, with one in five facing the prospect of closure within three years.

This survey reflects the worrying state of approximately half of the capital’s surgeries. As a result of this relentless pressure and strain, it was found that an eighth of London practices are considering scaling back the services they offer. With onsite primary healthcare already inaccessible for thousands of London-based patients, many will be unsure of where to turn with fewer services available and no local clinic to rely on.

19 surgeries have already announced that they will definitely be closing by 2019, with a further 17% of all London practices not ruling out doing the same. Research points to a shortage of family doctors and an increasingly difficult and unmanageable workload as two of several reasons for the potential closures.

As London’s population continues to accelerate – there’s now 8.6 million living in the capital – the accessibility of reliable primary care at the same time diminishes. We’re edging dangerously close to the system as we know it reaching breaking point, and it’s time to have a serious look at alternatives.

Jeremy Hunt has recently finalised a package of emergency measures to relieve strain on GP services – but will it be enough? I found this quote from Dr Naureen Bhatti, in an interview with The Guardian, particularly powerful:

“We’ve had very few applicants [for our GP job vacancies]. We were surprised because we’ve never had trouble filling our jobs before. But it’s become very difficult in the last six to nine months…The vacancies mean that our workload, which is already heavy and rising, has become enormous. I’m absolutely exhausted. I worked from 8am to 9pm or 10pm every day this week and now I often see patients on what are supposed to my administration days because so many people want an appointment.”

It’s staggering to me how we can let our health service reach this kind of drastic state without taking action earlier. The potential of mobile health services has been known by those in the industry for a long time, and it’s so evident that it’s needed now more than ever.

We want to work with the health service to assist them in a much-needed transition to a more tech-minded approach to healthcare. At times like these the industry needs to come together and work differently – we need to use mHealth to be smarter about how we provide the nation with the care it deserves and so badly needs. Through our service we are able to provide patients with appointments from the comfort of their own home – waiting times, appointment demand and poor access to a GP can all be solved through integration with our innovative app.


You can read more of my thoughts on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter.


70% of Doctors Prefer Telehealth Services

The healthcare industry to turning to telehealth solutions more and more across the UK and the rest of the world.

A new US-based study has revealed that almost 70% of doctors prefer working via telemedicine services as opposed to holding email or telephone consultations, claiming that they are more beneficial when it comes to diagnosing a patient’s health issue.

Of medical professionals willing to use video consultations to diagnose patients, 86% of them believe that telehealth video-based appointments are sufficient for both medication management and prescription renewals, while 80% believe that the service can also be applicable for chronic disease management.

The study, which was conducted by QuantiaMD and American Well, was based on a poll of more than 2,000 American primary care doctors – with results clearly showing that telemedicine services are growing in popularity in the healthcare industry across the globe.

Roy Schoenberg, CEO of American Well, said:

“There’s a sea change going on within the physician community. Doctors see value in virtual visits for their patients and also in managing their own work-life balance. We’ve seen weekly physician inquiries about practicing online triple in less than six months.”

As telehealth continues to rise, Now GP is leading the way across the globe as the world’s first mobile platform to offer the delivery of medications directly from an app-based consultation.

Our Clinical Director, Dr Andrew J Thornber, said of the ever-growing telehealth industry:

“Telehealth provides cost-effective, quality clinical care that can help ease the unrelenting pressure on healthcare providers to reduce costs and improve efficiency. There is a growing desire amongst consumers to quantify their lives and take control of their health, and Now GP offers the instant diagnosis needed to help prevent inappropriate hospital admissions, stop conditions from getting worse over time and give patients timely access to a professional opinion when they need one.”