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.
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).
In his latest blog, CEO & Founder of Now Healthcare Group Lee Dentith discusses the importance of patient safety in digital healthcare, following the closure of two services deemed unsafe by the Care Quality Commission.
In October 2016 I was overwhelmed with pride when my company Now Healthcare Group, just two years into its existence, was inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and found to be the first and only digital health provider in the UK meeting all regulations.
Our service, the way we care for our patients and our commitment to providing healthcare of the highest standard were all deemed exemplary. Our performance in the inspection was judged to be so positive that it saw us selected to set the standard for all future digital healthcare inspections – a standard which all other providers must now adhere to if they wish to continue operations in the UK…
In his latest blog, CEO & Founder of Now Healthcare Group Lee Dentith discusses a new study from the University of Surrey which has explored the benefits of telehealth and remote care for cancer survivors.
It’s always encouraging to read about more positive developments in the digital health industry, and recently a fascinating study concerning telehealth and cancer survivors caught my eye.
The study, conducted by researchers at The University of Surrey, revealed that the overwhelming majority of cancer survivors find the use of telehealth as a way of communicating with nurses and other healthcare professionals to be “positive and worthwhile.”
CEO & Founder of Now GP’s parent company Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, discusses how digital healthcare can significantly improve employee wellbeing and reduce employer costs.
To some, the link between digital healthcare services and the workplace might not be quite as obvious as the former’s link with the NHS. The National Health Service is crying out for the adoption of tech in order to ease the burden on the system, whereas businesses might not always consider employee healthcare as a top priority. However, the benefits of digital healthcare for both employees and employers cannot be underestimated. Here are several ways that digital healthcare can transform the workplace.
Reduce staff sickness through early intervention
This is where employers start to sit up and take note – you may be surprised to hear that staff sickness costs businesses in the UK a staggering £29 BILLION each year, with over 130 working days lost annually. Unfortunately, there is an overlap here with the NHS’ current problems – when employees start to feel unwell, they are left with lengthy waits to see a doctor (the average waiting time for a GP appointment currently stands at 13 days), in which time their illness has already escalated. This forces them to stay home and take sick days.
Digital health apps, which connect patients to doctors and nurses remotely within minutes, ensure that potential illness is tackled as soon as possible, eliminating the need for numerous sick days and the avoiding hassle of taking time off work to attend appointments.
Medicines delivered to the office
Our health apps (Now GP/Dr Now) include medicine delivery directly to an employee’s home or office address. This allows users to connect to a doctor remotely when they first wake up feeling under the weather, receive a professional diagnosis and – in some locations – have the medicine on their desk by lunchtime. It’s all part of making healthcare quicker and more convenient for people, intervening early and stopping sickness as soon as it begins to strike.
Combat the problem of presenteeism
While some employees may take time off when they are too ill to work, there are others – 68%, to be precise – who will continue to go to work even if they are unwell. While some may read this as a good thing, it’s actually the opposite – presenteeism, as it’s known, is a serious problem for UK businesses and sees sickness spread throughout the office, taking down an entire bank, team or even division in a matter of days.
Again, poor access to NHS appointments is a major cause of this as people simply can’t afford to take weeks off work. By providing employees with digital health access through mHealth service or white-labelled apps, they can be seen quickly and efficiently, and receive fit notes and fit to work certificates on the same day to determine whether they can come into the office risk-free.
Mental health benefits
9 in 10 major US employers are expected to turn to telehealth within the next year, and we need to see a similar uptake in the UK. An area which has incredible potential is mental health – conditions such as stress and workplace anxiety affect 25% of all employees in the UK, with many feeling uncomfortable discussing it with their employer. By providing remote access to counselling services remotely, employees are just a few taps away from chatting to a professional when things get a bit too much.
The sky is the limit when it comes to the adoption of digital healthcare in the workplace. It’s anticipated that 97% of all large US companies will offer telehealth in some form to their employees by 2019, and I’m hopeful that the UK can follow its lead in this field. Whether it’s simply providing employees with better access to appointments, or utilising the latest wearable technology to monitor sickness trends and safeguard against the spread of sickness, digital healthcare no doubt has a major role to play in the future of workplace wellbeing.
You can read more of my thoughts on LinkedIn (Mr Lee Dentith) and you can also follow me on Twitter.
In his latest blog, CEO & Founder of Now GP’s parent company Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, discusses our status as the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator’s only telehealth provider and our ambitions to integrate our technology into the National Health Service.
NHS Digital: It’s been a pleasure to be involved with NHS Digital at recent events, where I’ve enjoyed a number of exciting discussions with some of our fellow Accelerator partners.
I was delighted to recently come across news of a new “Accelerated Access Review” report, which recognises the role of DigitalHealth.London in accelerating the adoption of digital innovation in healthcare. This positive report is testament to the incredible work being done through the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator scheme, which Now Healthcare Group (Now GP/Dr Now) is so proud to be a part of.
The report, commissioned by the government and led by an independent chair, championed the new Accelerator scheme and its ambitions to allow the NHS to embrace new technologies by linking health and care organisations with digital health innovators such as ourselves. It makes several clear recommendations on reforms to help speed up patients’ access to healthcare technologies. It’s encouraging to see that those behind the review share our ambitions to ensure that the UK becomes a world-leader in healthcare innovation through an NHS which embraces the technology that patients in today’s on-the-go society need.
“This government has a strong commitment to the life sciences and to building a long-term partnership with the life sciences industry. We are determined to make the UK the best place in the world to develop new drugs and other products that can transform the health of patients.
“The report provides us with a strong basis to make the right decisions about how the health system can be adapted to meet the challenges of the future, attract inward investment, grow the thriving life science industry and use innovation to improve patient outcomes and tackle the financial pressures on the NHS.”
Health Minister Lord Prior
A recent change in circumstances have seen a similar company withdraw from the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme as it focuses its efforts on markets elsewhere. This leaves Now Healthcare Group in the luxurious position of being the singular telehealth provider to be a part of this potentially revolutionary Accelerator scheme, which is of course incredibly exciting for us as a business.
As a company we firmly believe that we are the clear market leader in this exciting telehealth industry, and I remain more confident than ever that we are truly ready and able to input our technology into the NHS to help combat many of the issues being faced by our nation’s healthcare service. Better access to technology for the NHS means better access to healthcare for its patients, and our ultimate ambition is to provide the nation with a convenient care and a more accessible health system.
You can read more of my thoughts on LinkedIn (Mr Lee Dentith), and you can also follow me on Twitter.
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.
CEO & Founder of Now GP’s parent company Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, discusses the latest healthcare news in his regular blog. Today’s piece concerns a notable rise in private referrals as doctors are encouraged to ask patients about insurance.
Something that myself and my colleagues at Now Healthcare Group have spoken about profusely in recent months is the clear correlation between the NHS’ continued financial difficulties and a rise in referrals from GPs to the private sector. Yesterday, in a news article from Pulse, it was confirmed that some CCGs in England are actively encouraging patients to consider using their private health insurance in a bid to cut costs for the NHS, and that referrals are on the rise as a result.
NHS Mid Essex CCG has seen a 6% year-on-year increase in referrals to private healthcare services since practices were contacted and asked to discuss their private insurance options with patients. NHS Basildon and Brentwood CCG, meanwhile, has also introduced a new “Private healthcare; another patient choice” scheme in what is an openly-admitted bid to cut costs.
I found the Readers’ Comments section of this article particularly interesting, with an anonymous GP partner admitting that they are more likely to refer patients privately when they know insurers are picking up the bill:
“When I have a patient with a hernia, or varicose vein I’m not going to refer them on the NHS but as soon as they say they have insurance I’m no longer the gate-keeper.”
We now have tangible evidence that certain GPs and practices will refer patients privately to save money for the NHS, which of course, is bad news for private medical insurance companies who will see premiums rise.
I spoke to my colleague Dr. Andrew Thornber (who is our Clinical Director here at NHG) about the news, and he admitted that this kind of behaviour is commonplace across NHS practices. He said:
“Actively encouraging patients to use their private medical insurance and placing financial considerations above the clinical needs of patients is, in my opinion, setting a very dangerous precedent. Patients should be seen and assessed purely on clinical grounds and subsequent decisions, regarding investigation and treatment pathways, should be based on best medical practice and in accordance with local and national guidelines.”
The aforementioned CCGs have attempted to justify these actions by emphasising that they are only posing such questions “simply to highlight the option for the patient to make a considered choice but by no way impeding on their ability to choose.” However, the figures speak for themselves, and this increase in often unnecessary referrals will undoubtedly not sit well with private medical insurance companies.
We’re currently working with select insurers to help eradicate this kind of unnecessary expense, and yesterday’s news shows exactly why more and more private medical insurance companies are turning to mHealth platforms such as our Dr Now / Now GP mobile app.
Although our doctors are all qualified NHS GPs in their own right, whilst they are working for Now Healthcare Group they are treated as independent – they are not pressured by the NHS or CCGs to cut costs or adhere to budgets and are able to treat the patient’s wellbeing and healthcare as their top priority. By utilising our mobile healthcare services, PMIs are able to provide patients with convenient, accessible care and also avoid paying out for often unnecessary referrals.
You can read more of my thoughts on LinkedIn (Mr Lee Dentith), and you can also follow me on Twitter.
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.
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.
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.
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 LinkedInor follow me onTwitter.