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.
MoneySuperMarket is providing customers with the chance to see a doctor on their mobile phone whilst they’re abroad on holiday, through a new partnership with Thomas Cook and digital health company Now Healthcare Group.
Holidaymakers who purchase Thomas Cook travel insurance through the price comparison website will be provided with access to the Now GP smartphone app, a ground-breaking digital health service that connects patients to UK-based doctors via video call, for the duration of their holiday.
The mobile health service is staffed by fully-qualified, MRCGP-certified doctors and allows patients to browse through a list of available GPs and schedule an appointment at a time to suit them. This allows holidaymakers to travel safe in the knowledge that in the unfortunate event of illness, face-to-face consultations with a UK-based, English-speaking doctor via video call are easily accessible.
The exciting new partnership aims to boost confidence among travellers and alleviate any potential cause for concern, with medical advice available via the app both in and out of the EU. Furthermore, if treatment is required to combat any prolonged periods of illness, electronic prescriptions and advice notes can be made available to collect from any local pharmacy.
The Now GP app is the first mobile health app to be proven to work on an international scale, hosting successful video consultations in Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East. This new partnership with MoneySuperMarket and Thomas Cook extends Now Healthcare Group’s current coverage over two million people, and is another key step towards the company’s ultimate goal of covering 25 million people by the end of 2017.
With statistics finding that one in five of us fall ill when holidaying abroad, Now GP is a fantastic travel benefit for Thomas Cook and MoneySuperMarket customers, particularly for families. Consultations are available for the duration of their time abroad, and the app is free to download for iOS and Android devices.
Founder and CEO of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, said:
“We’re delighted to offer the use of the Now GP app to customers who purchase Thomas Cook travel insurance through MoneySupermarket.com. Falling ill on holiday can be a real worry and a big problem for families, so by providing quick and easy access for people to speak to a doctor back home we’re helping to make holiday healthcare more convenient so people can enjoy their holidays hassle-free.”
Zena Carter, head of travel insurance at MoneySuperMarket, commented:
“We’re really pleased to be partnering with Thomas Cook and Now Healthcare Group on this project. For holidaymakers, having the security of knowing they can reach a UK doctor quickly, in the unforeseen scenario that they or someone within their party do fall ill on holiday, is something that cannot be underestimated.”
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…
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.”
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.
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.
The potential offered by mobile healthcare services has long been championed by those in the digital health industry, and we’re now starting to see significant uptake of the technology across the pond. Over in the United States, a new piece of research points to a significant rise in the number of Americans taking up smartphone-based healthcare, suggesting that US citizens are becoming more and more comfortable when it comes to using mobile devices to manage their care.
Almost two thirds (58%) of respondents stated that they use their mobile device to communicate with a medical professional. On top of this, 50% of those surveyed said that they have a health, fitness or medication tracking app on their phone.
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.