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Going Digital Could Save Public Health Services £7.5bn

Research conducted by Now Healthcare Group (NHG), has highlighted that the use of telehealth/digital consultations obviated the need for an NHS GP appointment in 56% of cases and a hospital appointment in 3% of cases and that pre-triage app technology could potentially re-direct up to 73% of patients to non-GP consultations (i.e. nurse or Pharmacist) – reducing pressure on primary care doctors.

The report quantifies the impact of digital technology on patient outcomes, medicine adherence and the reduction of pressure on public health services and private employers and shows that and that if digital health via app-based tech was rolled out across the population, it could potentially save £7.5bn on public health services in England.

The figures are based on live Now Healthcare data combined with publicly available NHS and academic sources also highlighted:

  • £2.2bn potential savings (annually) through redirecting patients via app-based tech to non-GP consultations (i.e. nurse of Pharmacist).
  • 27% of consultations via the app, did not need to be handled by a GP and 41% could have been handed by another healthcare professional such as a Pharmacist or Nurse – highlighting that if an effective pre-triage function was set up within a telehealth app, patient pressure on GPs could be reduced by up to 73%.
  • Usage of adherence technology improved the probability of patients sticking to their medication schedule by 41%.
  • £240m of potential productivity benefit (UK worth) in adoption of digital tech amongst private employers (preventing 600 days of workplace absence per 1000,00 people).
  • 80% of NHG’s patients surveyed said that if the digital platform was not available to them, they would have attended their NHS GP surgery.
  • 31% of possible items ordered when patients using app-based tech to manage their medication – reducing waste and delivering potential cost savings (in 2010 shown to be at £300m), when using tech.

The findings fall in line the NHS ten-year plan to evolve and meet the changing needs of the patient, ensuring that pressure on GPs does not affect their ability to provide the best care and that digital innovation enhance the efficiency of primary care delivery.

The results also serve to support the recent news which the NHS highlighted that more than 20,000 physios, pharmacists and paramedics are to be recruited in England to work alongside under-pressure GPs.

Now Healthcare Group had designed and built tech-based solutions to specifically deliver against these enablers, putting app-based tech firmly into the hands of the patient by delivering digital access to GP consultations and digital ordering of private and NHS prescriptions.

Dr Andrew Thornber, Chief Medical Officer at Now Healthcare Group said: “This report explores and quantifies the benefits that such an approach to primary care offers to patients, public health services and society. The ultimate conclusions show that adoption of digital solutions can have a significant positive impact on GP pressure, medicine adherence and medicine wastage”

Lee Dentith, CEO and Founder of Now Healthcare Group said: “It is clear from this report that digital technology has huge potential to improve efficiencies across public health services whilst simultaneously enhancing outcomes for patients. With smartphone penetration rates approaching 90% of the UK population, the concept of putting control, literally, in the hand of the patient has clearly come of age”.

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With over 40 years in the communications & IT sector in sales, marketing and editorial roles, Ian brings his channel experience from key UK players fully to bear in our editorial content and events.

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