No navel-gazing here

News And Views

News & Views

Healthcare
  • 12 March 2019
  • Gurjit Hothi, Senior Account Director

Meet the online doctor?

We read about the NHS in the news day in and day out. What’s working? What’s not working? What needs to be improved? We’re constantly looking to the future and this was reinforced by the goals set out by the NHS over the next 10 years in their Long Term Plan.

Digital transformation of the NHS plays a key role in this plan so people can access healthcare at the touch of a button. Digital GP consultations are key to this and new research shows they could remove the need for an NHS GP appointment in over half of cases. Looking ahead the research analysis found that if digital health via app-based tech was rolled out across England, it could potentially save £7.5 billion.

What implications does a move to online GP appointments have for patient care? We’ve spoken to David Berkovitch, Head of Healthcare and Rob Stone, Head of Digital, Strategy and Innovation to get their perspectives.

“With the NHS App rolling out in the coming months, the dream of Uber-esque access to primary care within the NHS edges ever closer. But practices will need to ensure the service remains centered around the needs of patients. And in particular that the technology enables a more personal healthcare experience, maintaining and deepening trusted GP-patient relationships while ensuring patients and carers don’t get lost in the system.” says David.

Rob says “Data collection and privacy is an important part of online service delivery and it can support healthcare professionals to better access patient records and care plans wherever they are, helping to deliver more responsive and efficient care. It also gives more control to patients over their medical records. The technology behind online consultations uses artificial intelligence which again can support healthcare professional decision making and the data can also be used to develop predictive models, giving an early indication of the potential onset of a condition”

Innovation and technology has been and will continue to radically shape our world and healthcare should be no exception. While online consultations shouldn’t replace valuable face-to-face care, it’s a helpful first port of call for people with minor ailments. It needs to be continually monitored, evaluated and improved upon so it delivers the best possible care for patients and communication with their healthcare professional.