Entrepreneurship and investment journalist, Jay Kim, recently caught up with our Founder and CEO Lee Dentith in an exclusive interview published for global business magazine Forbes.
Discussing the growing role of health technology and the story behind Lee’s founding of Now Healthcare Group, as well as the company’s plans for the future, the article certainly makes for compelling reading for those with an interest in the digital health sector.
Founder and CEO of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, discusses a new survey amongst GP practices in the UK which revealed some interesting figures concerning primary care consultation formats.
Amidst the chaos and controversy surrounding last week’s much talked about NHS cyber attack, some other interesting news regarding consultation formats within the health service emerged, and perhaps went somewhat unnoticed by a lot of people in the industry.
A recent survey of GP surgeries in the United Kingdom has found that one in six practices carry out “email consultations” with their patients, while a huge 96% of them offer telephone consultations.
These sort of processes are part of NHS England’s “10 high impact actions”, a set of proposals with the ambition of releasing time within general practice and primary care and reducing strain on NHS services.
MoneySuperMarket is providing customers with the chance to see a doctor on their mobile phone whilst they’re abroad on holiday, through a new partnership with Thomas Cook and digital health company Now Healthcare Group.
Holidaymakers who purchase Thomas Cook travel insurance through the price comparison website will be provided with access to the Now GP smartphone app, a ground-breaking digital health service that connects patients to UK-based doctors via video call, for the duration of their holiday.
The mobile health service is staffed by fully-qualified, MRCGP-certified doctors and allows patients to browse through a list of available GPs and schedule an appointment at a time to suit them. This allows holidaymakers to travel safe in the knowledge that in the unfortunate event of illness, face-to-face consultations with a UK-based, English-speaking doctor via video call are easily accessible.
The exciting new partnership aims to boost confidence among travellers and alleviate any potential cause for concern, with medical advice available via the app both in and out of the EU. Furthermore, if treatment is required to combat any prolonged periods of illness, electronic prescriptions and advice notes can be made available to collect from any local pharmacy.
The Now GP app is the first mobile health app to be proven to work on an international scale, hosting successful video consultations in Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East. This new partnership with MoneySuperMarket and Thomas Cook extends Now Healthcare Group’s current coverage over two million people, and is another key step towards the company’s ultimate goal of covering 25 million people by the end of 2017.
With statistics finding that one in five of us fall ill when holidaying abroad, Now GP is a fantastic travel benefit for Thomas Cook and MoneySuperMarket customers, particularly for families. Consultations are available for the duration of their time abroad, and the app is free to download for iOS and Android devices.
Founder and CEO of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, said:
“We’re delighted to offer the use of the Now GP app to customers who purchase Thomas Cook travel insurance through MoneySupermarket.com. Falling ill on holiday can be a real worry and a big problem for families, so by providing quick and easy access for people to speak to a doctor back home we’re helping to make holiday healthcare more convenient so people can enjoy their holidays hassle-free.”
Zena Carter, head of travel insurance at MoneySuperMarket, commented:
“We’re really pleased to be partnering with Thomas Cook and Now Healthcare Group on this project. For holidaymakers, having the security of knowing they can reach a UK doctor quickly, in the unforeseen scenario that they or someone within their party do fall ill on holiday, is something that cannot be underestimated.”
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 Healthcare Group Lee Dentith discusses a new study from the University of Surrey which has explored the benefits of telehealth and remote care for cancer survivors.
It’s always encouraging to read about more positive developments in the digital health industry, and recently a fascinating study concerning telehealth and cancer survivors caught my eye.
The study, conducted by researchers at The University of Surrey, revealed that the overwhelming majority of cancer survivors find the use of telehealth as a way of communicating with nurses and other healthcare professionals to be “positive and worthwhile.”
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.
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.
CEO & Founder of Now GP’s parent company Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, discusses the latest healthcare news in his regular blog. Today’s piece concerns a notable rise in private referrals as doctors are encouraged to ask patients about insurance.
Something that myself and my colleagues at Now Healthcare Group have spoken about profusely in recent months is the clear correlation between the NHS’ continued financial difficulties and a rise in referrals from GPs to the private sector. Yesterday, in a news article from Pulse, it was confirmed that some CCGs in England are actively encouraging patients to consider using their private health insurance in a bid to cut costs for the NHS, and that referrals are on the rise as a result.
NHS Mid Essex CCG has seen a 6% year-on-year increase in referrals to private healthcare services since practices were contacted and asked to discuss their private insurance options with patients. NHS Basildon and Brentwood CCG, meanwhile, has also introduced a new “Private healthcare; another patient choice” scheme in what is an openly-admitted bid to cut costs.
I found the Readers’ Comments section of this article particularly interesting, with an anonymous GP partner admitting that they are more likely to refer patients privately when they know insurers are picking up the bill:
“When I have a patient with a hernia, or varicose vein I’m not going to refer them on the NHS but as soon as they say they have insurance I’m no longer the gate-keeper.”
We now have tangible evidence that certain GPs and practices will refer patients privately to save money for the NHS, which of course, is bad news for private medical insurance companies who will see premiums rise.
I spoke to my colleague Dr. Andrew Thornber (who is our Clinical Director here at NHG) about the news, and he admitted that this kind of behaviour is commonplace across NHS practices. He said:
“Actively encouraging patients to use their private medical insurance and placing financial considerations above the clinical needs of patients is, in my opinion, setting a very dangerous precedent. Patients should be seen and assessed purely on clinical grounds and subsequent decisions, regarding investigation and treatment pathways, should be based on best medical practice and in accordance with local and national guidelines.”
The aforementioned CCGs have attempted to justify these actions by emphasising that they are only posing such questions “simply to highlight the option for the patient to make a considered choice but by no way impeding on their ability to choose.” However, the figures speak for themselves, and this increase in often unnecessary referrals will undoubtedly not sit well with private medical insurance companies.
We’re currently working with select insurers to help eradicate this kind of unnecessary expense, and yesterday’s news shows exactly why more and more private medical insurance companies are turning to mHealth platforms such as our Dr Now / Now GP mobile app.
Although our doctors are all qualified NHS GPs in their own right, whilst they are working for Now Healthcare Group they are treated as independent – they are not pressured by the NHS or CCGs to cut costs or adhere to budgets and are able to treat the patient’s wellbeing and healthcare as their top priority. By utilising our mobile healthcare services, PMIs are able to provide patients with convenient, accessible care and also avoid paying out for often unnecessary referrals.
You can read more of my thoughts on LinkedIn (Mr Lee Dentith), and you can also follow me on Twitter.