Patients in the United Kingdom should be able to choose to see a doctor via digital health platforms as part of NHS Choices, a new survey — conducted by Now Healthcare Group — has found.
One hundred members of the public have been questioned for the survey, 97 percent of which agreed that technology like mobile app video appointments should be made available to make primary healthcare more accessible to patients. This move could also significantly reduce the unnecessary costs and pressures on an increasingly overstretched NHS.
At the moment, the average waiting time for a GP appointment is up to two weeks, which often leads to patients choosing to go directly to A&E — at the staggering cost of £124 per visit to the NHS. Forty percent of A&E visits are deemed "unnecessary," with these patients being discharged without needing any treatment. Put into numbers, that's 9.1 million avoidable A&E visits (out of 23 million) that are costing the NHS over £1 billion each year.
Now Healthcare Group, which has developed the Now GP / Dr Now smartphone app, believes this figure could be reduced dramatically by further integrating services such as the one they are offering into NHS Choices.
"These latest survey figures speak for themselves, and with 97% of patients actively asking for the opportunity to see a doctor via an app, I remain confident that services such as ours are undeniably the future of the UK's healthcare system," Now Healthcare Group Founder and CEO Lee Dentith said in a statement. "As the only telehealth provider currently authorized to provide NHS repeat prescriptions, we have ambitions to work even more closely with the NHS to solve A&E's billion pound problem by transforming the way that people in the UK access primary care."
Now Healthcare Group is already working with NHS to offer free delivery of NHS repeat prescription medication directly a patient's door. This practice alone has already helped reduce the number of A&E visits from patients requiring urgent repeat prescriptions, with tens of thousands of deliveries handled by Now Pharmacy since August 2015.