EMIS has made its video consultation service free to all GPs running its clinical software in a bid to help tackle the spread of coronavirus.

Four thousand GP practices running EMIS Web now have the capability to offer video consultations to their patients, who can access the service via the free Patient Access app.

The Video Consult service is being offered at no cost to practices for a temporary period of 12 weeks, with EMIS also providing online training and support materials to GPs.

The aim is to help GPs reduce the number of visits to surgeries – preventing the risk of practice closure and ensuring vital GP services remain in place.

It comes as digital health service providers rally to support doctors and patients amid the epidemic by enabling patients consult with their GP without risking spreading the virus.

As of Monday 16 March, there have been more than 87,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, including 1,372 in the UK.

So far, 35 people have died as a result of coronavirus in the UK.

NHS 111 has established a dedicated online service to help the NHS cope with a surge in enquiries about the virus.

Dr Shaun O’Hanlon (pictured), chief medical officer at EMIS Group, said: “This a major initiative that will provide practical support for thousands of GPs – caring for around 35 million patients – during this escalating situation.

“While some practices are already using video consultations, most are not. By rolling out the software across our whole EMIS Web user base, we are making the technology available to any practice that wishes to use it. There are very clear benefits for GPs, practice staff and patients.”

EMIS Health is running a webinar this week to brief all surgeries and help with rapid deployment of the technology.

Once practices switch on the service, patients can book video appointments via the Patient Access app on their mobile phone or computer.

Patients can access video appointments by registering and linking to their EMIS practice via www.patientaccess.com. Once their practice has enabled video appointments they will be able to book on in the appointments section of the app.

Digital Health is running a programme webinars which will share lessons and knowledge on how health and care organsiations can and are using digital tools to help meet the unique challenges of responding to Covid-19.

The first is taking place on Friday (March 20) at 12.30pm. 

Register here.