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.


Keep up to date with the latest Now GP news by following us on Twitter.


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.

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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.

 


mHealth Care Home Study Prevents Hospital Visits

The rise of mHealth continues, and it’s clear that the future of primary healthcare is here to stay. As more and more people take up this rapidly developing technology, more and more benefits are revealed, too. Two mHealth studies have been conducted across the pond at the University of  Missouri recently, touting the value of sensors in monitoring elderly people’s activity and sleep patterns at home.

Researchers are testing radar sensors to measure daily activity levels in seniors (a walking study), with additional sensors underneath mattresses tracking cardiac and breathing activity as they sleep (a sleeping study). It’s part of a long term effort by researchers to use such technology to help the elderly age better.

Majorie Skubic, director of the university’s Center for Eldercare and Rehabilitation Technology, said:

“In-home sensors have the ability to capture early signs of health changes before older adults recognise problems themselves. The radar enhances our ability to monitor walking speed and determine if a senior has a fall risk; the bed sensors provide data on heart rate, respiration rate, and overall cardiac activity when a senior is sleeping. Both sensors are non-invasive and don’t require seniors to wear monitoring devices.”

The walking study was conducted over a two year period, updating seniors on a monthly basis on their activity rates. It analysed data which focused on changes in activity patterns that could indicate potential declining health, able to find that declines in walking speed can determine risks of falling.

bed sensors sleep patterns
The bed sensors tracked sleep patterns in seniors over two years

The sleep study measured heart rate, respiration rate and overall cardiac activity when asleep – how often they are in bed and how long for. Similarly to walking speed, sleep patterns can detect early signs of illness in humans.

All the seniors who were involved in the study were living in homes inside the university’s independent living community – essentially a care home/retirement centre – and results found that those living with the sensors had a stay of 4.3 years over the national average of 1.8 years.

Marilyn Rantz, the director of the program, said:

“If you can get ahead of the symptoms, you can fix the problem when it’s much smaller and avoid the hospital. If you can pick up subtle changes and address them early on, you’re so much better off.”

Early intervention is something we at Now GP have championed for quite some time. By providing patients with access to doctors as soon as they feel there is a problem, our GPs can diagnose them and get them on the way to recovery before the issue escalates. mHealth is all about reducing inappropriate hospital admissions, and that’s exactly what our app does.

To find out more, get in touch. Or, see for yourself – download the Now GP app today!

 


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.


4 Million Now Queue for Same-Day Appointments

In this week’s blog, Lee Dentith – CEO and Founder of Now Healthcare Group – looks at yet more worrying statistics concerning primary healthcare access in the UK.

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The winter flu season may finally be over, but sadly the pressure on NHS surgeries continues to mount. Another day, another series of statistics revealed from a rather damning survey of over 9,000 UK patients from across the country.

What stood out most to me was the fact that the number of people forced to physically queue for an appointment at their local NHS surgery has risen to an astonishing FOUR MILLION. Elderly and unwell patients are, in some cases, forced to queue outside the surgery doors in order to get seen on the same day – some are arriving at surgeries at daybreak and still face waits of several hours.

Our surgeries are often so overwhelmed by demand that they are routinely asking patients to wait outside, with those in the Patients Association condemning the situation as unacceptable – prolonging the suffering and discomfort of those who are often in urgent need of medical help.

When it comes to appointment waiting times, the numbers simply continue to get worse and worse – immigration, a shortage of doctors and an increasingly-ageing population are three major contributing factors for why patients in this country are continuing to suffer. The current model of healthcare in the UK just isn’t working, and the stats revealed from this latest survey make this simply undeniable.

Of 9,116 patients surveyed – all of which were in their over 50s – 33% said that they were unable to secure an appointment with a GP within seven days. Incredibly, up to two million are forced to wait for three weeks or more for an appointment, while many patients are routinely made to wait over one month just to see a doctor.

It’s not just the actual appointments which patients are queuing for, either – surgeries receive countless calls each morning from patients requesting to be seen, with many on hold for anywhere between 20 minutes to one hour.

A news article looks in depth at these figures, focusing on surgeries in South England which have become notorious for their lengthy waiting times. North Street Medical Centre (Romford, Essex) allegedly sees as many as 50 people queueing outside of the surgery doors each morning with receptionists admitting that patients “struggle to get a seat” when they do eventually make it into the waiting room. Another surgery in South East London sees queues which are 30-strong with patients regularly waiting up to two and a half hours to be seen.

The Royal College of GPs has pointed towards a shortage of doctors as a major reason for this, with nine in ten surgeries now forced to rely on locums because they are so short of permanent GPs.

To be frank, things need to change and they need to change now. The NHS system continues to creak under continued pressure, and it’s a system which is failing to attract new doctors and one which is also failing its patients.

Our vision as an mHealth organisation is to provide patients and GPs with a much-needed alternative. Our platform embraces flexible working hours for doctors to help them enjoy working in healthcare once again. We give patients the chance to speak to a MRCGP-certified doctor within a ten minute window via smartphone-based video call. We can even arrange for you to have your medicines delivered to your home or work address.

As a nation we need to think about the way we access and offer healthcare and think differently and smarter. We have the technology in place to ensure that patients aren’t forced to physically queue for appointments – it’s archaic and there is no place for it in today’s on-the-go society. It’s time for change, and it’s time to embrace mHealth.


Accident & Emergency Misuse: We’re Here to Help

In his latest blog, Founder and CEO of Now Healthcare Group Lee Dentith discusses the misuse of accident & emergency departments in UK hospitals and how mHealth can be used to reduce inappropriate admissions.

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As I was browsing through last week’s news stories, I found myself once again reading a story concerning the worrying misuse of our nation’s accident and emergency facilities. Peterborough City Hospital recently reported a phenomenal 40% rise in patient numbers, with countless patients turning up with issues for which a trip to A&E were completely unnecessary.

It was reported that one woman turned up to the hospital as she had a broken finger nail, while another complained of suffering from hiccups! This is simply not what A&E is for – and, in all honesty, it isn’t something which healthcare providers have the time to be dealing with.

“Unprecedented numbers” are turning up at A&E departments on a regular basis, at a cost of around £120 to the NHS each time someone comes through the door.

This quote from chief operating officer at Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Neil Doverty, is rather worrying:

“On Sunday and Monday our staff treated some 700 patients over the two days, which equates to 40% more patients than the usual average attendance. [People need] to think about the treatment they need before they come to A&E.”

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While the broken nails scenario is presumably something of a one-off, a dangerous number of people are using A&E services for health issues which are simply not appropriate.

As a nation we have to take a step back and think about why this is continuing to happen, and a lack of access to primary care is undoubtedly a major contributing factor. In today’s busy “on-the-go” society, people don’t have the time to wait weeks for an appointment with their local GP. This means that when people fall ill, even if it’s minor issues like coughs and colds, they will head straight to A&E departments or NHS walk-in centres to seek help.

This is where we come in. Mobile healthcare is a fantastic alternative when it comes to primary care access. What we need right now is to alleviate pressure on the health service as much as possible, and our products have been created for exactly that purpose.

By connecting patients to a GP through their smartphone, our Now GP platform has been created for ultimate convenience and to help reduce the number of these inappropriate A&E admissions. The current model isn’t working – it’s time to embrace mHealth and the benefits it can bring to our society.