The NHS app will be updated over the next two years to include a range of new features, including the ability to offer remote video consultations between patients and GPs, according to the Department of Health and Business social.
The app update is part of a series of measures unveiled in the Digital Health and Social Care Plan which outlines how technologies will be used to “increase efficiency, free up hospital space and clinicians’ time, and eliminate Covid backlogs”.
From March 2023, more app users will be able to use it to message their GP, book COVID-19 vaccinations, check their medical records and manage elective care appointments at the hospital. hospital – assuming their NHS trust is okay with the digital upgrade.
The intention is for the NHS app to become a “digital gateway to NHS services”, according to the DHSC. It says 28 million people already have it installed on their phones and the ambition is for 75% of adults to use it by March 2024.
Ultimately, it will also be used to improve access to screening services and clinical trials, and allow patients and caregivers to view children’s health records.
“The plan sets out how we will improve access to information for people and their care teams through the NHS app and NHS.uk – resulting in faster and more personalized treatment,” the DHSC said in a statement. statement.
“This includes bringing information together in the app and allowing people to view and manage hospital appointments, have virtual consultations and see notifications from their GP.”
It is backed by £2billion allocated from the Spending Review which will be spent on digitizing medical records. The government said earlier this year it wanted 90% of NHS trusts to have electronic patient records in place by December 2023, with the rest in the process of implementing them.
Other elements of the digital plan include the expansion of remote monitoring of patients at home – with a target to increase this number to 280,000 patients currently to 780,000 by March 2023 – and a “virtual room” strategy which will allow patients to complete hospital pre-assessment checks at home by September 2024.
He also wants welfare systems to have a standard digital welfare record that can be linked to electronic patient records.
Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, welcomed the report, saying it “presents an exciting opportunity not only to expand access to care through digital channels, but to accelerate uptake evidence-based technologies that will help make care more preventative.” , personalized and empowering for patients.
She noted, however, that implementation “will be difficult and must be done carefully so as not to exacerbate inequalities”, adding that investment in NHS IT infrastructure must continue.
“We hope the upcoming digital workforce strategy will help address recruitment and retention issues while making the NHS an attractive place to work for digital professionals,” McCay said.