A second digital healthcare provider has been given the green light by the Care Quality Commission in a pilot inspection.

Babylon, a subscription based remote GP consultation service, was found to have provided safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led services in “accordance with the relevant regulations”.

Digital Health News reported last week on Dr Now, a competitor to Babylon, passing its CQC inspection after seeing the draft report.

Both Babylon and Dr Now provide their GP services either for a monthly fee or a one off payment, for a consultation with a GP at the patient’s convenience.

The two reports have been published as it was reported GP video subscription apps will come under increased regulatory scrutiny from next year.

In a statement provided to Digital Health News, the CQC said by next April it was intending to set up a “comprehensive inspection programme” for these digital primary care services.

The report on Babylon, published 14 October after a July inspection, said its sole focus was the company’s online GP consultation service. A monthly rolling subscription is £4.99, and it is free to use for two sites in NHS Southend Clinical Commissioning Group, Highlands Practice and Eastwood Group Practice.

One improvement suggested by the regulatory body was monitoring the receipt of manual prescriptions by the pharmacy to ensure the 72 hours delivery time was met.

In a statement, Ali Parsa, founder and chief executive of Babylon, said it was a “great privilege” to be leading the new generation of health services.

“We’re among the first UK organisations of our kind to undergo such an inspection and we’re proud to have set the bar so high.”

The increasing number of companies offering video consultations is causing consternation within the digital health sphere, with accusations of privatising of the NHS.

However, NHS England’s interest in digitalising its healthcare offering is apparent through the second attempt to set up an NHS apps library, after a pilot programme was scrapped last year amid concerns about data security.

While the CQC inspection is separate to the Public Health England run apps library, there are suggestions that CQC inspections could form part of an app library assessment of service-based apps, such as Dr Now.

However, to date, no apps have been endorsed on the app library.

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