NHS England has commissioned an app, myGP, to help speed up access to care by allowing patients to securely book and/or cancel doctors’ appointments remotely on their smartphones.
The GP app was developed by London-based health tech company iPlato and has been launched for GP practices.
iPlato said the app enables practices to automate data collection, streamline call and recall, improve adherence and access to medication and support self-care through digital care plans.
myGP simplifies the registration process to access digital patient services by allowing patients to register remotely using their date of birth and mobile number registered with the GP practice.
Following a quick authentication process, patients are ready to go, according to iPlato, with the app including secure instant practice-patient messaging, appointment booking and cancellation, medication reminders and self-care support tools to monitor weight and blood pressure.
An NHS Patient Survey found that 10% of patients who cannot get an urgent appointment at their GP practice go straight to urgent care services including A&E.
As such, iPlato said there is a nationwide push to ensure that the majority of GP appointments are used effectively to help reduce the burden on emergency services at both a primary and secondary level.
Patients already use the iPLATO service to cancel appointments by replying ‘cancel’ to SMS appointment reminders. This systematically frees up urgent GP appointments resulting in reduced pressure on urgent care services.
myGP can also be used through text (SMS) messaging which has been widely used by GP surgeries for some time now, yet myGP is the first service that enables patients on different GP Systems (EMIS Health and Vision) to immediately book an appointment via their mobile phone, according to iPlato.
Working alongside iPlato’s text messaging services, the company said practices use myGP to send alerts and reminders regarding health campaigns such as seasonal flu inoculations, NHS Health Check and cancer screening.
Tobias Alpsten, CEO, iPlato said: “We are all incredibly excited about the ability of myGP to really make a difference in simplifying and speeding up the GP appointment process and ultimately help to improve patient outcomes.
“No other electronic channel elicits replies as quickly as SMS messaging and as GP practices upgrade to switching on myGP, the app has been designed to be simple to install and easy to use, ensuring that patients can quickly embrace the new technology.
“Research from a recent launch with a Kent GP practice found that 27% of patients enrolled on myGP within the first 7 days – when this is replicated nationwide, we will be able to save the NHS a considerable amount of money in wasted appointments, but crucially, we are looking forward to supporting a CCG’s digital care plans to help improve patient outcomes.”