A number of GP practices in England will shortly begin trials of Now Healthcare’s video consultation platform.
Within the next two months, five groups of NHS practices and one “very large” GP practice will allow patients to call in remotely for video appointments.
This will be facilitated by technology from Now Healthcare, the Manchester-based health tech firm behind the Now GP app.
Patients will also be able to book appointments online and make use of Now GP’s free repeat prescription delivery service.
The £5m system will allow doctors to hold additional appointments outside of normal office hours, including evenings.
Lee Dentith, CEO and Founder of Now Healthcare Group, said the technology provided “an evolution of a traditional way to see a GP” without requiring additional funding.
“Our technology assists patients because it gives GPs the opportunity to continue to see their patients – rather than losing them to other practices offering online consultation services,” said Dentith.
It is hoped that practice GPs will use Now Healthcare’s platform to consult with app users “for a couple of hours each week,” although Now Healthcare will also provide its own clinicians, Dentith said.
“We will also offer practices the chance to use our own GPs, free of charge, to carry out additional video consultations – such as for evening appointments – with a view to driving more people to use our app.”
Now Healthcare recently opened a £1.5m ‘tele-pharmacy’ in Liverpool, which will dispense and deliver some 500,00 repeat medications per month to people with long-term health conditions.
The technology offered to GP practices will include an option for patients to select Now Healthcare Group’s prescription delivery service.
Patients will alternatively be able to choose a dispensing pharmacy of their own choice, meaning participating GPs won’t be put at risk of breaching ‘prescription direction’ regulations designed to prevent them from sending patients to specific pharmacies.
Now Healthcare said the practices involved in the trials would be named shortly.
The firm hopes to roll the technology out to additional GP practices in the future.