Founder and CEO of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, discusses new research focusing on the effect of staff sickness on UK businesses.
Since founding Now Healthcare Group back in 2014, one of our main areas of focus has been on how digital health services can be utilised to have a positive impact on the ongoing problem of staff sickness and employee absence here in the United Kingdom.
The latest research from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace (BHW) has found that UK employers are losing a staggering 27.5 days of productive work per employee every year as a result of ill health. If you were to put a figure on the monetary value of this loss, you’d find that staff absence and the problem of presenteeism costs the UK economy a huge £73 billion per year.
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.
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).
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 has found.
The study, conducted by Now Healthcare Group, questioned 100 members of the public and found that 97% agreed that digital health technology – such as mobile app video appointments – should be made available through NHS Choices to make primary healthcare more accessible to patients. Such a move could significantly reduce the unnecessary costs and pressures on an increasingly overstretched NHS.
Founder and CEO of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, outlined his ambitions to continue working closely with the NHS to help achieve a solution to this problem and relieve strain on our A&E departments. He said:
“With avoidable A&E visits costing the NHS over £1 billion each year, it’s imperative for the future of primary care in this country that new methods are introduced and new technologies are thoroughly embraced. 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. As the only telehealth provider currently authorised 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.”
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.
Now Healthcare Group has been chosen to be part of the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator Programme
About the programme
Mobile healthcare (mHealth) organisation Now Healthcare Group is one step closer to easing the burden on the NHS after being chosen to be part of the new “DigitalHealth.London Accelerator” programme.
The company behind the innovative Dr Now and Now GP smartphone apps joins an elite list of businesses looking to benefit from better engagement with the NHS and the wider health sector.
The year-long Accelerator scheme accepts only the highest potential digital health startups and businesses onto the programme. It provides tailored support to the specific needs of each business to allow them to develop their products and create real solutions to some of the most pressing challenges faced by the NHS.
The Now GP/Dr Now team are at today’s annual NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester, where Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is set to announce the arrival of mHealth and app-based online health services into the NHS.
This marks a significant breakthrough for mHealth companies such as ourselves, who have long since championed the benefits that embracing technology can bring to the health service and to its patients.
Hunt will announce later today “a multi-million pound package” to expand digital services across the NHS, which will including a new online triage service to enhance the current 111 service and out of hours care.
“We live in the age of the smartphone, and we want the NHS to reflect that. Our new plans will make it easier for patients to get the medical support and information they need, and should encourage more of us to use the growing range of online NHS services.”
Services such as our Now GP/Dr Now mHealth can be white-labelled and custom-built for NHS CCGs and surgeries, helping them to combat the problem of waiting times and reduce the strain on the healthcare system and out of hours services. By embracing mHealth apps, the NHS will also be more able to deliver its goal of seven day access by pooling qualified GPs, nurses and specialists into a convenient and accessible healthcare app.
Our app connects patients with independent NHS doctors who deliver advice and diagnosis via remote video consultations. We also have an NHS-registered pharmacy which is able to deliver medicines directly to a patient’s home and serve repeat NHS prescriptions.
As the mHealth industry continues to expand, we’re turning our attention to the power of artificial intelligence, wearable technology and “big data” analytics to direct patients to the care and treatment they need. Early intervention is a key aspect of delivering effective primary care, and we want to allow patients to get the care they need at the earliest opportunity – in some cases, before they even realise they are ill themselves.
We’re delighted with the direction that the NHS is heading and its desire to utilise such innovative technology is very pleasing to see. Look out for more exciting news from Now GP/Dr Now in the near future.
Speech can play an integral role when judging a person’s mental health. When examining their patients, psychiatrists and psychologists will often look for certain signals present in a person’s speech – such as their delivery of certain words and phrases – to make judgement about their wellbeing.
Factors such as tone, choices of words and phrase length have all been proven to have a correlation with mental health issues and are all crucial cues to understanding what is happening in someone’s mind.
For example, those examining patients with potential psychosis, which is a major feature of schizophrenia, will always look for a series of verbal clues when determining the status of a patient. Short sentences and muddled, frequent use of worlds such as “this”, “that” and “a” with little correlation between one sentence to the next can all be clear tell-tale verbal tics.
As artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated, reliable and commonplace in the healthcare industry, researchers are now applying the aforementioned approach, with assistance from machine learning, to accurately diagnose patients with mental disorders.
Back in August last year, a research team were able to develop a workable AI model that predicted – with 100% accuracy – which members of an “at-risk” group of young people would go on to develop psychosis in the next 30 months and which would not.
This was seen as a major breakthrough for medical AI and a significant victory for those championing the benefits of utilising such technology in a mental health setting. Statistics show that doctors have around a 79% accuracy rating when predicting the development of psychosis based on a person’s speech patterns in interviews. AI, it seems, is able to use an automated speech analysis program to go one step further.
“In our study, we found that minimal semantic coherence – the flow of meaning from one sentence to the next – was characteristic of those young people at risk who later developed psychosis. It was not the average. What this means is that over 45 minutes of interviewing, these young people had at least one occasion of a jarring disruption in meaning from one sentence to the next. As an interviewer, if my mind wandered briefly, I might miss it, but a computer would pick it up.”
Guillermo Cecchi, biometaphorical-computing researcher at IBM Research
We’re now a year on from this impressive study, and US diagnostic platform company NeuroLex Diagnostics is looking to build on this work to create a tool for primary care doctors to screen their patients for schizophrenia. Recordings of a patient’s appointment will be taken, with smart device-hosted AI able to analyse a patient’s speech transcript for relevant linguistic clues. The AI will present its finding as a number (like you’d expect with a blood pressure reading, for example) to assist the psychiatrist in making the diagnosis.
NeuroLex’s work will also extend to a post-diagnosis study, aiming to identify which medicines and treatments have been the most effective by determining how speech patterns change during a psychotic stay in hospital.
It would appear that we’ve only just started to scratch the surface when it comes to AI and mental health, but the potential that machine learning offers is undoubtedly exciting for those in the industry – as machines learn more and more, so do our doctors and psychologists. Speech analysis can also be used to track signs of other issues such as depression or bipolar disorder, so further developments in this field have the potential to be incredibly beneficial.
For more thoughts on healthcare, follow us on Twitter @NowGP.
CEO & Founder of our parent company Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, discusses the RCGP’s new warnings on waiting times for doctor appointments over the coming years.
Pulse Today has reported yet more worrying news for the NHS this week, and it’ll come as little surprise to many of you that it involves a rise in GP appointment waiting times.
The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has warned that, should current trends continue, there will be almost one hundred million instances where patients are forced to wait for over a week to see a GP at an NHS surgery by 2020.
The estimated rise of waiting times is nothing new, and unfortunately has become a spiralling problem for the NHS. What is particularly concerning, though, is that this new analysis also reveals that on 50 million occasions patients will not be able to get a GP appointment at all in four years’ time. That’s 50 million patients who will simply not have access to healthcare when they need it. This is unacceptable and simply cannot be allowed to become a reality.
To put the severity of this predicted rise into context – last year there were 9.4m occasions when patients could not get a GP appointment and didn’t seek healthcare elsewhere; by 2020/21 it could be approximately 47m.
Chair of the RCGP, Dr Maureen Baker, described the new figures as evidence that general practice in the UK is “in crisis.”
“The fact that, if current trends continue, patients will have to wait to see their GP for more than a week on almost 100 million occasions by 2020 is shocking – and poses a clear risk to the health of thousands and patients.
“We now need a guarantee from the new Prime Minister, the new Chancellor and the health secretary that the GP Forward View will be delivered in full.”
Dr Maureen Baker, RCGP Chair
The aforementioned General Practice Forward View sets out a plan, backed by a multi-billion pound investment, to stabilise and transform general practice in the UK. It commits an extra £2.4 billion per year to support GP services by 2021.
For me, it’s absolutely imperative that the funds being promised in this forward view are not just delivered, but used wisely on actions that will visibly improve the situation for the NHS.
We remain committed to doing out part to ease pressures and strains on the NHS by embracing mHealth technologies and helping patients gain convenient and affordable access to primary healthcare. As these new RCGP figures sure, mHealth is exactly what the health service needs right now and we’re excited to help make a real difference through this innovative and effective technology.