8am GP appointment scramble to end with launch of new NHS patient app

NHS announces new app giving patients more control over the own health

The NHS has launched an app that will enable patients to book same-day GP appointments.

The move aims to avoid the chaos that ensues every morning as patients try to get through to book appointments over the phone.

As Jeremy Hunt rightly notes, in the 70th year of the NHS the biggest change within the next decade is the technology revolution and we should using this to evolve, rather than disrupt the national institution

Using the app, people will also be able to look at their medical records, order repeat prescriptions, and access NHS 111 online for urgent medical queries, as well as using it to address longer-term concerns such as setting out their end-of-life care and organ donation preferences.

In an announcement, Health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said: "The NHS app is a world first which will put patients firmly in the driving seat and revolutionise the way we access health services.

"I want this innovation to mark the death knell of the 8am scramble for GP appointments that infuriates so many patients.

"Technology has transformed everyday life when it comes to banking, travel and shopping. Health matters much more to all of us, and the prize of that same digital revolution in healthcare isn't just convenience, but lives improved, extended and saved."

Testing of the app, which will be available for patients across England, begins in September and it is expected to be ready to download from the App Store or Google Play in December.

I have no doubt that people will hugely welcome the ability to access self-help diagnostic tools, more easily book GP appointments, view test results, and order repeat prescriptions, and tell us about their personal preferences

Sarah Wilkinson, chief executive of NHS Digital, said: "I have no doubt that people will hugely welcome the ability to access self-help diagnostic tools, more easily book GP appointments, view test results, and order repeat prescriptions, and tell us about their personal preferences with respect to organ donation, use of their data and other aspects of their care.”

Matthew Swindells, NHS England national director of operations and information, added: "The new app will put the NHS into the pocket of everyone in England, but it is just one step on the journey.

“We are also developing an NHS Apps Library and putting free NHS Wi-Fi in GP surgeries and hospitals."

The announcement has also been welcomed by app providers.

Alistair Murray, clinical director at Echo, a medication management app, told BBH: “Any innovation that gives people more control over their health should be welcomed with open arms.

“As Jeremy Hunt rightly notes, in the 70th year of the NHS the biggest change within the next decade is the technology revolution and we should using this to evolve, rather than disrupt the national institution.

Health technology can make a huge difference in the next 70 years if we work together to develop the best solutions for patients and healthcare professionals alike

“Managing medication can be an admin headache and a strain on resource. In fact, we spend £9billion each year on medication in primary care, half of which isn’t taken as directed, and this is a huge source of NHS waste.

“Solutions like ours make it easier for people to get their medication, prompt them to take it, and remind them when it is about to run out, reducing this waste and helping people to live healthier lives.

“Health technology can make a huge difference in the next 70 years if we work together to develop the best solutions for patients and healthcare professionals alike.”

Dave Alampi, chief medical officer at Jamf, warned that the success of the scheme lay in good mobile device management. He added: “The launch of a new NHS mobile app for patients to book appointments, order prescriptions and view medical files is exciting as this indicates a significant step made by the NHS in its digital journey by enabling patients to take a greater role in managing their care.

Whether the app can minimise the number of patients at GP offices every morning to be seen and effectively raise the productivity of the NHS will depend on how the NHS is going to roll out and manage the app internally.

Implementing a comprehensive technology rollout programme that includes mobile device management (MDM) and education for end users will be crucial to set the NHS up for success.

An MDM solution can ensure a smooth mobile app rollout across an entire inventory of NHS-managed devices with great efficiency, so caregivers can communicate with patients, confirm their bookings and access their medical records through their individual devices.

It also minimises security concerns as if a mobile device is lost or stolen, it’s easy for an administrator to remotely wipe a device and delete the app and any log-in credentials saved, meaning confidential patient data won’t be accessible through the app by a third person.

Companies