Are we there yet?

21st July 2017

Registering patients for #GPonlineLondon is good for practices and patients says Digital Innovation Lead, Kwesi Afful…

Usually a question more commonly heard from the back seat of a car on a journey testing the patience of all, I’m reflecting on where we are at on journey to a new and exciting place; the NHS use of digital technology to improve patient care.

Today, most of us use our mobiles to shop, bank and access news but now we can manage our health online too. Over the past few years a raft of great measures have been introduced to improve access to NHS services but for me the greatest digital innovation is GP online services.

So why do I think it’s so great? GP online services gives patients the ability to book, change and cancel appointments, order repeat prescriptions and their view health records all from their mobile. The service, which is available to all Londoners, can be accessed any time, any place and it’s free to everyone registered at a GP practice in the UK.

Why is GP online so important?

The UK is faced with a growing, aging and diverse population putting pressure on the traditional model of general practice. Practice staff are processing endless appointments, referrals and prescriptions, all of which impact on the time that they can spend on other important matters relating to patient health. 

Practice managers in surgeries with high patient registration for GP online services are reporting a great improvement in this administrative process and improved patient care as a result.

There are also a number of benefits for those who lead busy lives; carers, parents and those who work. Being able to make and amend appointments at a time convenient to them, not having to come into the surgery to get regular repeat prescriptions and being able to access their or those they care for’s health records online, saves so much time.

GP online is also great for patients with long term conditions. I have diabetes and use my GP online account to get my diabetes prescriptions and make appointments so that I can spend my time doing other things that are important to me such as spending time with family and friends. Ordering my prescriptions takes 2 mins, really!

Registering is easy, safe and secure. I’m not surprised that in a recent survey of those registered, 89% found the process simple to follow.

So, are we there yet in terms of digital health transformation in the NHS? GP online is a great example that we are on track and that the NHS has embraced the innovations of the twenty-first century.  There is still some way to go but like the reply so many parents give their little darlings, ‘Nearly there, just a little bit longer, please be patient'”.

Find out what Healthy London Partnership is doing to promote online GP services in London.

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