Now GP: Processors, Algorithms and Wearable Health Tech

At Now Healthcare Group, we’re proud of our commitment to the latest innovations in the digital healthcare market. Since launching the Now GP app last year, we’ve made significant progress in our ambition to establish ourselves as the world’s premier pre-emptive healthcare platform. As we head into 2016 at full steam, we’re focusing on the development of complex unique algorithmic solutions which will enhance our mHealth diagnostic platform – utilising the potential that the growing wearable health sector holds.

An exciting announcement from Samsung last week saw the unveiling of a new ‘Bio-Processor’ which will be specifically designed for the monitoring and computing of physiological metrics such as heart rate, skin temperature, body fat, heart rhythm, muscle mass and stress levels. In a nutshell, the new complex data processor will allow us to analyse the human body and its wellbeing in more detail than ever before.

man with smartwatch

The new bio-processor differs from previous pieces of hardware, with its actual CPU an ARM Cortex-M4 – a processor mainly connected with microcontrollers in the industrial and scientific industries. This will increase the capabilities of wearable devices when it comes to health monitoring and analysis.

The wearables market has been of keen interest to the Now GP development team for some time now. We’ve commenced tireless work over the last twelve months testing and developing algorithms and multi-language, diverse coding platforms in order to fully utilise the complete benefits of the latest processing technology – all in an effort to bring it to the market through our app as soon as possible.

With the ever-increasing popularity of smart devices such as the Apple Watch in mind, the Now GP app will be able to provide our patients with a wealth of information to help them analyse their own healthcare trends, monitor their heart rates and much much more – all thanks to potential integration with complex processors such as those developed by the likes of Samsung. Through the introduction of Now GP to wearable devices, the already-popular app will be brought to life even further through this new exciting dimension.

With the Now GP platform already able to diagnose patients and deliver medicines via remote video consultation, wearables integration will further enhance the all-round healthcare offering we provide our users. Look out for more exciting news in 2016!

 


Now GP Makes Two Senior Appointments

The innovative mHealth company welcomes a new COO and CTO following its recent relocation to Manchester’s MediaCityUK.

Now GP and Now Healthcare Group are delighted to announce the appointment of two new senior staff members following our recent expansion and move to Manchester’s MediaCityUK. We are able to confirm the appointment of Ian Ronald as Chief Operating Officer (COO), as well as the arrival of Tim Ng as Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

Ian Ronald arrives at Now Healthcare Group as an experienced operator of retail and consumer businesses including BP, Pizza Hut, Scholastic, Tastecard and The Wine Society. He is an expert in business strategy and development, revenue growth and operational improvement. He is responsible for delivering the Now GP service to the high standards set by Now Healthcare Group as a company.

ian ronald dr now coo
Ian Ronald, COO of Now GP

Ian’s experience covers several sectors, including financial technology, restaurants, children’s books and fine wines. His role will see him remain focused on what the customer – the Now GP patient – requires and the best ways in which this can be achieved through our mHealth service.

Tim Ng boasts a wealth of experience, having been a leader of technology teams in a variety of settings for over 16 years. His CV includes previous employment at companies including Fujitsu/ICL, Latitude Group, threeSixty Services LLP (Standard Life) and tech start-up company Property Moose.

tim ng cto of dr now
Tim Ng has also joined as CTO

A number of core platforms developed by Tim have been integrated with large scale enterprise systems and web API frameworks with Overture (Yahoo), Google and MIVA. His role at Now Healthcare Group will see him oversee the continued development and innovation of the Now GP mHealth platforms and applications.

The appointments come at an exciting time for Now GP, with new business clients and further exciting opportunities soon to be announced in the New Year, as Now Healthcare Group continues to establish itself as the world’s premier mobile health organisation.

Founder and CEO of Now Healthcare Group and Now GP, Lee Dentith, made the following statement:

“We are thrilled to welcome both Tim and Ian to the business, with these appointments further showing our ambition as a company as we head into 2016. Our commitment to providing patients with an effective healthcare solution will continue into the New Year, and with Ian and Tim both on board we’re confident that we can continue our fantastic progress and make further strides as a business. ”


mHealth as an Employee Benefit: Revolutionise your Business

Business in the UK is changing, and has been for some time. Gone are the days of work finishing when you leave the office at 5pm – thanks to the growth of smartphones, tablets and cloud servers, remote working and a blended work and home life are now commonplace for millions of employees, from businesses of all sizes and of all industries. In the modern day competitive marketplace, time is money, and businesses today need to maximise their time in order to stay ahead of the game, both financially and in terms of productivity.

Why the UK Needs mHealth

For UK businesses, one issue which continues to plague employers and drain valuable resources is the problem of staff sickness absence. Today’s employee may not necessarily live near a local clinic, may work out of town, or may regularly be away for business trips. When they inevitably fall ill, getting seen by a GP can be a major difficulty.

ill woman at work

 

150,000 patients who turned up to A&E in London last year were not even registered with a GP, and those that are can often face a two week wait to see their doctor. People can’t afford to take this amount of time off work to see a GP, or are unable to get an appointment in the first place. So, the employee battles through and comes into work anyway – leading to the spread of sickness and a severe deterioration of your company’s productivity. In total, staff absence costs UK businesses an incredible £29 billion each year – and it’s a number which will continue to grow unless companies take a stand and seek an alternative solution to their healthcare.


Now GP connects users to an MRCGP-certified GP, who is UK-based, at the touch of a button


How it Works

The Now GP platform has been created to alleviate the pressure on our National Health Service by giving patients instant access to a GP consultation via their smartphone device. We’ve opened up our innovative mHealth solution to businesses of all sizes to ensure that employees across the country can get the primary healthcare attention they need, when they need it.

The United Kingdom is a key adopter of solutions such as mHealth, telehealth and telemedicine, with an approximate spend of £252 million to be confirmed by the end of 2015. Now GP, an mHealth platform devised and developed by Now Healthcare Group, connects users to an MRCGP-certified GP, who is UK-based, at the touch of a button. On top of this, we offer the delivery of medicines directly to a patient’s home or office, with a whole host of corporate benefits available to those businesses who take up our healthcare solution.

the dr now app

 

A Number of Corporate Benefits

Our state-of-the-art reporting software and management reporting systems can provide businesses with strategic insight into sickness absence levels, site by site, department by department. By calculating weaknesses in your workplace, the months when your staff are most at risk and the causes of staff illness, you can help to safeguard against both the spread of sickness and the extensive costs that absence can cause. We also provide staff with medical care that, unlike other private medical insurance (PMI) plans, doesn’t count as benefit-in-kind: this makes us a cost-effective alternative to PMI which saves money for both employer and employee.

74% of businesses in the United States are predicted to offer telemedicine and mHealth services to their staff by as early as 2016, and the UK must follow suit in order to continue to meet the continued healthcare demands of employees.  Integration in the workplace means that employers can use key measures to monitor and assess the success of their mHealth investment, based on the quality of the clinical services provided, the improved rate of productivity, employee satisfaction and the ongoing innovation and integration.

The potential of mHealth as an employee benefit is clearly there for all to see. As the NHS continues to struggle to meet its growing demands, more and more businesses will need to explore the incredible benefits that can be offered to both employers and employees. Now GP is proud to be at the forefront of this exciting opportunity.


The NHS Knows It Must Embrace Digital – Here’s Why mHealth is the Answer

Many GPs have had their say on the new proposals from Baroness Martha Lane Fox, who has suggested that GPs should have a contractual requirement to boost the percentage of patients using online services by 10% each and every year.

Earlier in 2015 Jeremy Hunt tasked Baroness Fox with developing practical proposals for increasing the uptake of digital innovations which shows, undoubtedly, that the National Health Service is well aware that it is falling behind in this area and sees it as a matter of urgent concern.

While some clinics have begun to offer commonplace online services such as appointment booking facilities or online test results, it’s imperative that government looks further into the potential of more advanced digital health solutions. It needs to ensure that the quality of care provided by its overstretched health system does not fall and is able to meet growing demands.


Simply making clinic appointments bookable online may save the early morning phone call rush but will do nothing to help reduce waiting times for patients – more needs to be done, and done now.


The presentation from Baroness Fox, made to the National Information Board Leadership Summit, states: “Every GP practice should have at least 10% of its registered patients using online services by March 2017…and aim to increase patient registration for online services by 10% each year.”

With near to 400 million GP appointments made in the United Kingdom each year, if this proposal were to be realised – and done so through the inclusion of more advanced online services – then digital could significantly alleviate some of the pressure on the health system. Simply making clinic appointments bookable online may save the early morning phone call rush but will do nothing to help reduce waiting times for patients – more needs to be done, and done now.

mHealth solutions like Now GP have been designed to integrate with the rest of the healthcare sector, and could reshape the NHS as we know it. If just 10% of patients were to turn to mHealth for their primary care consultation, 40 million appointments per year could be handled by UK-based GPs via video call. As the government plans to ramp up the role of digital in our healthcare, there is nothing to suggest that this figure would not continue to grow.

doctor holding iphone

 

The benefits of a more accessible healthcare solution are widespread. The majority of primary care cases can be diagnosed based on past medical history alone, with video call consultations via smartphone a reliable and practical alternative to face to face appointments – making lengthy waiting times to see a GP no longer necessary.

On top of this, a more accessible GP service will do wonders for our hospital’s A&E departments – primary care is currently so inaccessible on the NHS then people turn to the accident and emergency ward for their minor health problems.

The government’s increased interest in digital healthcare is no doubt encouraging, but Hunt and the NHS need to look further into the possibilities that mHealth could bring for the struggling system – and they need to do it now.

 


A&E Waiting Times Continue to Worsen

New figures from the College of Emergency Medicine make sorry reading for our nation’s health service, as hospitals continue to slip further and further away from their four hour A&E performance targets.

Waiting times continue to escalate in overcrowded A&E departments, with the latest numbers showing that 88% of patients were treated or admitted within four hours – significantly below the 95% target. As well as a struggle to get patients seen by A&E departments, the BBC has reported that there are also problems getting them to leave – in some hospitals, a fifth of all beds are occupied by patients who are ready to leave but cannot be discharged because of a lack of community services available for them.

waiting time figures for a&e departments

Photo credit: BBC

The NHS has taken steps to tackle the issue of overcrowding, with three quarters of UK hospitals increasing their stock of beds in an effort to relieve pressure and a growing number of previously routine operations now cancelled. Despite this, though, the problem continues to grow worse and worse and according to the President of the College of Emergency Medicine, Dr Cliff Mann, the “worst is yet to come.”


Figures show that A&E waiting times have continued to worsen over the past seven weeks


He said: “The majority of hospitals have endeavoured to increase the number of beds available to cope. Despite this, elective operations have had to be cancelled and postponed as bed capacity is insufficient to cope.”

The data collected from the college contains information on waiting times from the past seven weeks, monitoring the level of pressure on hospitals during winter. It shows a gradual worsening in performance since the beginning of October, when just over 92% of patients were seen within the target window of four hours.

Weekly data was previously made available by NHS England and the government themselves, but this stopped recently with data now published monthly with a six-week time lag. The latest information from the NHS, then, is from September and shows the four hour target being missed, along with other targets related to ambulance response times, cancer care and diagnostics tests.

ambulances outside an emergency care centre

 

This unsustainable pressure on our national health service comes as a result of the population’s struggle to receive the primary care that they need. With millions of us struggling to get a GP appointment within a week, patients turn to A&E for what are, quite often, non-urgent matters. Our dynamic telehealth service, Now GP, is aiming to alleviate the pressure on our NHS by supplying the public and businesses with a reliable and affordable alternative to primary healthcare.


Out of Hours Care Will Face Meltdown This Winter Due to Rising Indemnity Fees

As indemnity fees for GPs continue to soar, thousands of patients in the UK this winter must be prepared to face a struggle when it comes to securing an out of hours appointment with an NHS GP.

The Family Doctor Association (FDA) has warned that the rising costs mean that willing doctors will be unable to work for their patients during the height of the cold and flu season, with patients needing to find an alternative method of out of hours care this winter.

Figures in August suggested that GP indemnity costs had increased by 25% in just 12 months, with the fees particularly unaffordable for GPs working out of hours according to the FDA.


80% of GPs limit the number of out of hours shifts they work due to the spiralling fees.


Chair of the association, Dr Peter Swinyard, said last week that the government must be prepared to make “urgent changes” to GP indemnity provision, pointing out that general practitioners are the only senior doctors in the country who do not see their fees covered by the NHS for public service work.

doctor with a stethoscope and a wallet

 

Dr Swinyard said:

“GP partners and their practices have the double whammy of paying these extortionate rises both for themselves and for the salaried doctors they employ. Urgent change is also needed to prevent a meltdown of out of hours provision this winter when willing GPs are prevented by indemnity costs from working for their patients.”

A survey from Pulse found recently that 80% of GPs limit the number of out of hours shifts they work due to the spiralling fees, with GP partners forced to cover annually-rising fees for themselves and for the staff that they employ, too. It’s an issue which will see those in need of a primary care solution, especially during the difficult winter months, forced to turn elsewhere in order to receive the out of hours primary medical attention that they need.


We connect users with those who are MRCGP-registered to help the nation access professional primary care when they need it, with the winter month meltdown no longer an issue.


For GPs looking to provide UK patients with a dedicated out of hours service, Now GP offers them a flexible platform to work from their home or office at a time to suit them. We connect users with those who are MRCGP-registered to help the nation access professional primary care when they need it, with the winter month meltdown no longer an issue.

Our telehealth service can provide patients with a full diagnosis via smartphone-based video call, and our national and regional pharmacy distribution hubs can deliver medicines directly to a patient’s home or office.

NHS England has said that it is looking closely at the issue of rising GP indemnity costs, but a recent submission to the independent pay review body recommended that GPs may not need any funding uplift at all despite an acknowledgement that the rise in fees is unsustainable. With no solution to this growing issue on the horizon, it’s no surprise that more and more people – both patients and GPs – are turning towards telehealth solutions for their out of hours care.

 


Now GP Opens New Development & Technology Department in Manchester

The Liverpool-born telehealth company has acquired new office space at MediaCityUK’s Digital World Centre.

Now GP, part of Now Healthcare Group, is delighted to announce that its Development & Technology division will be relocating to Manchester’s famous MediaCityUK as part of the company’s continued expansion.

The team will now be occupying prime office space in the Digital World Centre at the heart of MediaCityUK, making the move from Liverpool’s Albert Dock.

The business has enjoyed phenomenal success since the launch of its innovative mobile app in June earlier this year, with this exciting relocation testament to the progress that the company has made as it continues to provide a flexible and accessible solution to healthcare for patients around the United Kingdom.

media city uk

 

Founder of Now Healthcare Group and Now GP, Lee Dentith, made the following statement:

“We’re delighted to be in a position to expand the business at Now GP and we’re thrilled to announce a new office for our development and tech teams in one of the most vibrant, progressive and exciting areas of the North West.

“Although we’re extremely proud of our Liverpool roots, we feel that this move will allow us to make the most of the growing digital opportunities in Manchester and help to further cement Now GP’s status as the number one telehealth organisation in Britain.”

About Now GP

The Now GP mobile application for iOS and Android connects patients with a fully-qualified, MRCGP-certified doctor via remote video call. Patients can choose to speak to a male or female of their choice, at a date and time to suit them for a flexible solution to their primary care issues.

Now GP then dispenses medicines to the patient’s home or office, with next day delivery guaranteed and delivery in 2-4 hours for those in central London.

Now GP is available to members of the general public, with a range of corporate packages also available to businesses looking for an alternative to private medical cover for their employees.

View the Now GP promotional video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHcdD0YKdbs

Download the app from the App Store and Google Play.


How Telehealth Can Save Our Nation’s A&E Units

London’s Accident and Emergency units were put under unnecessary pressure last year, with more than 150,000 patients who turned up not GP-registered at the time.

With the majority not requiring emergency care, this put incredible strain on the capital’s A&E departments and staff, further highlighting how big an issue access to primary care has become in the United Kingdom. A&E departments continue to spiral into further trouble, slipping further from its 4 hour waiting time target.

A leading GP has stated that if the entire population of London were to register with their local clinic, the health service would struggle to cope. Figures obtained by the BBC through a Freedom of Information request show that 153,564 patients who turned up to A&E in London last year were not registered with a doctor, but realistically, this number is undoubtedly higher due to some NHS Trusts not recording their attendance figures.

busy hospital waiting room

 

These remarkable findings from the BBC further justify the claims that we at Now GP have been making for some time: that a lack of access to primary care services has direct negative impact on the levels of pressure felt by our country’s A&E departments. It is only through providing patients with a suitable alternative to primary healthcare, such as our telehealth platform, that will begin to alleviate some of this pressure.

Our on-the-go society, and particularly those in London, require a more flexible and accessible solution to healthcare – young professionals and those with busy lifestyles simply don’t have the time to register at a local clinic and wait a week to be seen by a doctor. London’s fluid population sees many people come and go at a quick rate as they move in and around the city for work, with many either choosing not to register with a GP or finding themselves unable to do so due to a lack of availability.


“Lack of access to primary care services has a direct negative impact on the levels of pressure felt by our country’s A&E departments.”


When people fall ill, many will invariably head straight to A&E, and often their arrival at the hospital is the first point of contact they will have had with their local health service since arriving in the area. The average waiting time to see a GP is as high as two weeks in certain areas of the capital – people are unwilling to wait this long with a primary care concern, which is why we are seeing the nation’s A&E units begin to crack under  pressure.

A story broken by Sky News this morning said that senior medics have warned that A&E units are facing a “perfect storm” this winter, with a junior doctor’s strike coupled with a lack of staff meaning that the nation’s Accident and Emergency departments could be  in crisis during the height of the winter flu season. Hospitals are already reporting a rise in patients needing emergency care much earlier in the autumn than would be normal.

man with flu outside hospital

 

A London-based GP and author, Dr Youssef El-Gingihy, has long spoken publicly about some of the NHS’s major flaws. He claims that the proportion of the NHS budget going to general practice is continuing to drop alarmingly, at a time when demand for services continues to rise. Over a quarter of walk-in centres in the capital have closed since 2010, with patients forced to head to A&E units for lack of a better alternative.

Through Now GP, we are attempting to provide those in London and beyond with access to primary care with no waiting times and no hassle. We connect those in need to a MRCGP-certified doctor via live video call, and deliver medicines to their door in as little as two hours in central London. Telehealth solutions such as ours offer the NHS a much-needed lifeline, and patient by patient we are determined to ease pressure on our nation’s A&E departments and make waiting times and doctor unavailability a thing of the past.


Why the NHS Needs to Welcome Innovation or Face Collapse

Recently-departed Head of Monitor, David Bennett, has stated that the National Health Service cannot survive as a purely taxpayer-funded service and must look for other forms of revenue if it is to meet future demand.

In a continued effort to close the staggering NHS funding gap, a further £2 billion was injected into the service just last year, but the problems and deficit remain, with Bennett claiming that the gulf between demand and resources was actually closer to double this figure at the time. Now, he has warned Jeremy Hunt that without a further cash injection this year the NHS’s struggle to meet specific targets such as waiting time reduction would continue – “something’s got to give,” he said.

doctor holding a piggy bank

 

Something certainly does have to give, and with a recent damning assessment of Britain’s health service claiming that it is one of the worst in the world for developed countries, any further setbacks could see the NHS stand on the brink of collapse. This month’s spending round will see chief executive of the NHS Simon Stevens and Hunt attempt to secure a substantial downpayment on an extra £8 billion-a-year promised to the NHS over the next five years.

We’ve reached the stage, though, where simply throwing money at the NHS will not help to alleviate its difficulties – and taxpayers will certainly not be thrilled about having to cough up extra funds to pay for a failing service. The NHS needs to be revolutionised, not refinanced – and telehealth solutions such as Now GP are ideally placed to help the NHS avoid collapse in the coming years through integration and collaboration.


“Telehealth solutions such as Now GP are ideally placed to help the NHS avoid collapse in the coming years through integration and collaboration.”


With the ultimate aim of providing the general public with a more accessible and reliable solution to their primary healthcare needs, Now GP’s state-of-the-art remote video consultation and medicine delivery platform is already making waves in the world of UK healthcare. If integrated into the National Health Service, this will ease pressure on Britain’s healthcare in a number of ways.

Waiting times has long been one of the major flaws in the UK health system. 14 million of us now face a wait of a week or more to see a doctor – and this number continues to grow and grow. Through Now GP, patients can get to see a doctor when they need to at the touch of a button, reducing appointment waiting times and at the same time relieving pressure on our country’s A&E departments. Healthcare chiefs have recently claimed that in some areas of the UK, as much as 80% of A&E visits are unnecessary, with people urged to find alternative methods of finding a cure for their primary care concerns – this alternative is here already, and it’s called Now GP.

The innovative Now GP mobile app for iOS

 

Lack of job satisfaction amongst GPs and those in the healthcare industry has been documented regularly in recent months, with many doctors feeling that the pressures and difficulties associated with working for the NHS are no longer allowing them to enjoy their work. Now GP is aiming to give doctor’s the freedom to choose when and where they want to work, helping to rejuvenate the careers of hundreds of healthcare professionals who feel short-staffed, under-supplied and overworked thanks to the NHS’s overstretched service.

To meet the challenges it faces head on, the NHS needs to react and adapt to change, or else the quality of care that patients receive will fall. Getting better health value for patients of course means improving productivity – but improving productivity doesn’t mean dedicated doctors, nurses and managers working even longer and harder. It means everyone working together, embracing the amazing innovation we have at our fingertips and working in a different, more rewarding and smarter way.

 

 


80% of A&E Visits in Wales Are Unneeded

An NHS Wales chief has urged the public to consider alternative methods of primary healthcare in a bid to ease pressure on the overstretched accident and emergency departments at Welsh hospitals.

In an interview with the BBC, Chief Executive of NHS Wales, Dr Andrew Goodall, announced that a staggering 80% of patients who visited A&E units did not actually need to be there. He urged people with minor injuries and illnesses not to “clog up” accident and emergency departments this winter in order to avoid a repeat of last year’s busy period which led to one senior nurse compare pressures in Welsh A&E units to those of a “war zone“.

Dr Goodall said that “the vast majority of medical conditions do not need emergency care,” with the public encouraged to turn towards alternative methods of healthcare in order to find a solution to their primary care problems. Dr Goodall also highlighted the shocking fact that NHS Wales receives approximately 100,000 calls to its 999 number for issues which are deemed as non-urgent, which end up wasting the time and resources of those who are tasked with handling more serious health concerns.

Accident & Emergency Department

 

When people are choosing services in the wrong way, bypassing more convenient and accessible primary healthcare solutions and heading straight to A&E, this can seriously impact both the health service and the patient. Hospitals are under increasing pressure as A&E attendances continue to escalate and, as we approach flu season and the winter months, this pressure could harmfully affect the quality of care that patients receive. On top of this, patients who visit A&E unnecessarily are actually waiting far longer to be seen by a nurse or GP than is required.

The Now GP platform has been designed to ease pressure on increasingly-strained A&E departments across the country, providing patients and businesses with an effective telehealth solution for their short-term sickness concerns. By providing users with instant access to a live consultation with an MRCGP-certified GP via video call, Now GP eliminates the need for those who feel a GP appointment is too difficult to book to head straight to A&E looking for a quick diagnosis.

Now GP is the world’s first app to diagnose and deliver medicines, with our pharmaceutical conveyance platform providing customers with guaranteed delivery of their medicines in as little as two hours. To keep up to date with the latest Now GP news, you can follow us on Twitter: @DrNow.