US Employers Turn to Telehealth

CEO & Founder of Now GP’s parent company Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, discusses encouraging findings concerning telehealth as an employee benefit in the United States.

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As the UK’s National Health Service continues to creak under ever-increasing pressure and strain, across the pond in the United States there are encouraging signs that the long-awaited telehealth revolution is beginning to gather significant pace.

A new study compiled by the National Business Group on Health (NBG) surveyed 133 large American businesses, who between them employ over 15 million Americans. The results were incredibly encouraging for our industry, indicating that nine out of ten large employers are intending to make telehealth services available to their employees next year.

This is up 20% on last year’s figures, and is a significant indication that telehealth availability is well and truly on the rise as a high priority employee benefit.


“Employers’ focus in 2017 is shifting away from plan design to optimising how healthcare is accessed and delivered. That translates into expanded telehealth services, more Centers of Excellence options and optional selective network choices that focus on providing higher quality healthcare.”

Brian Marcotte, President & CEO of National Business Group on Health


I’ve recently been based in the States on business, and I can confirm that telehealth and mHealth solutions are very much high on the agenda for a number of major organisations. This shift is undoubtedly motivated by an attempt to offset a rise in overall healthcare costs for employers, and provide workers with cost-effective, convenient and accessible care.

NBG states that, should this current trend continue, over 97% of large employers will offer telehealth and remote healthcare services to their employees by 2019. Bear in mind that in 2014 this figure was at just 22%, it shows just how beneficial this technology is proving for both employers and employees.

In the UK employee sickness absence continues to be an ongoing problem. It’s something that collectively costs UK businesses £29 billion each year, with over 130 million working days lost to sickness annually. Poor access to services and lengthy waiting times are of course significant contributing factors to these alarming figures.

We’re starting to see companies begin to embrace mobile healthcare solutions on a similar level to that in the United States, allowing organisations such as ours to provide employers with a cost-effective employee benefit service, and employees with convenient and reliable healthcare access. Now Healthcare Group‘s aim is to eliminate sickness days through early intervention, giving people access to a professional medical opinion when they need one and preventing illness from getting worse by tackling it in its earliest stages.

We’ve already teamed up with a number of businesses to provide our services to their staff, with great results. It’s an exciting time to be involved in this ever-growing industry, and we’re confident that mHealth is well on its way to becoming the must-have employee benefit right here in the UK.


You can read more of my thoughts on LinkedIn, and you can also follow me on Twitter.


Now GP Named ‘App of the Week’

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.”sunday people app of week now gp

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.

You can read the full story here.


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The Role of mHealth in Out of Hours Healthcare

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. 

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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.


 

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

 


Heading on Holiday? Take a Doctor with You with Thomas Cook

Europe’s largest mobile healthcare partnership will connect holidaymakers to a UK-based doctor whilst abroad with the Now GP smartphone app


 

Thomas Cook has partnered with Now Healthcare Group to become the first travel company to offer customers access to Now GP. The mobile health app connects holidaymakers to UK doctors remotely whilst abroad, providing an enhanced level of care and an even greater peace of mind.

Aiming to boost confidence among travellers and alleviating any cause for concern, medical advice can be sought via smartphone video consultation. If treatment is required, electronic prescriptions can be issued by Now GP and collected from any local EU pharmacy, or used outside the EU for advice purposes.

The partnership, which is the largest mHealth contract in Europe, expands Now GP’s total customer base to over 1 million patients, cementing its status as Europe’s clear market leader in the ever-growing digital health industry.

Now GP has been proven to work on an international scale, recently becoming the only mHealth app to host successful consultations in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia. Now, Thomas Cook customers will be able to speak to a doctor back home at the touch of a button via secure, encrypted cloud-based video call.

Those who have taken out an insurance policy with Thomas Cook (through White Horse Insurance Ireland Ltd) can connect with their choice of qualified, male or female English-speaking doctor online. Customers can travel safe in the knowledge that in the event of illness, face-to-face consultations with a GP via video calls are guaranteed within 10 minutes of a request being made.

With recent statistics have finding that one in five of us fall ill when holidaying abroad, Now GP is a fantastic travel benefit for Thomas Cook customers, particularly for families. Consultations are free for the duration of their time abroad, and the app is free to download for iOS and Android devices.

Raising the benchmark among its competitors, Thomas Cook’s newly improved insurance policy reflects the tour operator’s commitment to customer welfare, experience and satisfaction.

Chris Mottershead, Managing Director at Thomas Cook says: “Now GP is a great enhancement to our insurance policy and enables our customers to travel abroad with an even greater peace of mind. Customer welfare and satisfaction is very much at the heart of what we do and it’s through listening to customer feedback that we decided to improve our offering.  We hope that our customers feel even further protected by having free access to an NHS-qualified GP from anywhere in the world where they can connect to the internet.”

Founder & CEO of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, said: “Now Healthcare Group is thrilled to have partnered with Thomas Cook to provide its customers with a convenient and accessible solution to falling ill or having health concerns whilst on holiday. Those insured by Thomas Cook will be able to connect to a doctor based back in the UK from their smartphone, with our team of qualified GPs able to diagnose them remotely and arrange for medicines to be prescribed from local pharmacies.”

 


 

For the latest mHealth and company news, follow @NowGP on Twitter.

 


Average GP Appointment Waiting Times Hit 2 Weeks

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.

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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.

gp waiting times average

 

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 LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter.

 


Now Healthcare Expands into Asia, Completing First Hong Kong Consultation

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.

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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.

 


Dr Now Announces Rebrand to Now GP

Now Healthcare Group (NHG) is delighted to announce that its flagship product Dr Now is to be rebranded as Now GP in the United Kingdom.

A new logo accompanies the rebrand, as well as the adoption of tagline “Tomorrow’s healthcare now.” The name and trademark ‘Dr Now’ will be retained and used for the growing international mHealth market, now worth $59bn globally. NHG has ambitions to penetrate several international markets in 2016-17, including Asia and the Middle East.

Extensive customer research was conducted by NHG in preparation for this switchover, with 92% of 2,000 patients agreeing that the name ‘Now GP’ was better suited to the UK market due to its strong links to primary care and general practice.

Dr Now was first launched in the UK in August 2015 as the world’s first app to diagnose and deliver medicines from its own integrated online pharmacy distribution hub, Now Pharmacy. This makes the app a one-stop solution for the majority of primary healthcare issues.

It connects users to a UK-based GP through smartphone video consultation, with appointments usually available within a ten minute window and next day delivery of medicines guaranteed. In central London, medicines are delivered in as little as 2-4 hours.

NHG has recently partnered with a number of high-profile business and insurance clients to supply their customer base with this fantastic medical benefit.

now gp now healthcare group

As part of ongoing strategic planning, NHG has also appointed GP Bullhound – a leading investment banking firm – as corporate advisors. Firm director Nick Horrocks said:

“GP Bullhound is delighted to be working with Lee and his highly professional team at Now Healthcare Group. The business is very much at the forefront of future healthcare and will have a transformational impact on how we all view and use healthcare services.”

CEO and Founder of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, made the following statement:

“We felt it was the right time to rebrand the product as Now GP in order to keep it in line with our existing brand identity and upcoming future products. Our customers felt that ‘GP’ was more appropriate for the UK market; it’s a title that evokes trust in general practice and ensures our app is recognisable as a primary care platform operated by fully-qualified GPs.”


View the Now GP promotional video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHcdD0YKdbs.

Download the Now GP app from the App Store and Google Play.

***NOTES TO EDITORS: For more information on the industry-changing Now GP product, visit www.nowgp.com or contact Founder Lee Dentith at lee.dentith@nowhealthcaregroup.com or Jon Taylor at jon.taylor@nowhealthcaregroup.com. Lee Dentith is available for all media enquiries including phone/TV/radio and email interviews. Alternatively, contact Now Healthcare Group on 0161 820 4860. 


Why the GPC Needs to Look at mHealth

CEO and Founder of Now GP’s holding company Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, discusses the GPC’s ambitions to limit the number of consultations GPs can have daily and how mHealth can be used to alleviate the strain placed on our doctors.

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As the government puts the finishing touches to its “roadmap for general practice,” the General Practitioners Committee (GPC) last week called for a maximum limit of consultations to be imposed, ensuring that GPs only see a certain number of patients per day. This proposal comes in an effort to reduce GP workload, allow the quality of care being delivered to still be at the required standard and to solve the ongoing recruitment crisis.

The document has been put together by the GPC based on feedback from local GP leaders at January’s Special LMC Conference. Although a number of possible improvements to the health service have been proposed, the most intriguing is undoubtedly the suggestion that NHS England should set “a national standard for a maximum number of patients that GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals can reasonably deal with during a working day to maintain delivery of a safe and high quality service.”

While this will obviously provide doctors with much-needed relief and a more manageable and safe schedule, what happens to those patients who miss out once the appointment quota has been reached?

It has been suggested that commissioners should “establish locality hubs to which practices can refer urgent patients when they have reached the capacity threshold for safe care on any given day.” While this could potentially be quite effective, it does nothing to aid the convenience of healthcare for patients, and raises questions about who will actually be recruited to man these locality hubs.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul is the chair of the GPC. He said that this important document “brings together practical and deliverable ideas from GPs and sets out a comprehensive, positive and practical approach which, if adopted, would make a significant difference to both practices and patients.”

It’s certainly encouraging to see the GPC acknowledge the issues and concerns of our doctors, but I do fear that we’re overlooking a much simpler solution for patients and practitioners in the form of mHealth. While the GPC has stated that it will look to “maximise the potential of technology,” it’s clear that mHealth has a starring role to play in terms of stabilising the way the healthcare system works.

Rather than refer patients to locality hubs once their local surgery quota has been reached, why not provide them with access to a GP remotely instead? Face to face consultations via video call provide patients with healthcare access whenever they need it, with endless benefits over traditional out of hours telephone helpline services. Given that our services are able to diagnose patients and arrange for medicine delivery, mHealth makes a physical GP visit unnecessary in the majority of cases.

It’s not just patients who would benefit from an mHealth solution either – our Now GP / Now GP product embraces flexible working hours for doctors, allowing GPs to work as much or as little as they wish. It brings added convenience for both doctors and patients, and doesn’t see patients turned away from their surgery and told there is no more room for appointments on that day – it’s a reliable service designed to bring convenience back to healthcare and fit the needs of today’s on the go society.

We want to help the NHS adapt and manage this ‘bottleneck’ which sees more and more people in the UK struggle to get appointments. The Now Healthcare Group vision is, and has always been, to provide a convenient healthcare solution which works for everyone and alleviates the strain on our health system, reduces the pressure that doctors are under and provides patients with access to a professional medical opinion whenever they need one. For more information, please get in touch with our team today.


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.”