Request a quote A Digital Front Door To The NHS - GKA

A Digital Front Door To The NHS

Back in 2019, the NHS introduced its Long Term Plan, a plan that would make the NHS fit for the present and the future so that it could continue to offer high-quality services to patients.

Nobody could have predicted the events of 2020, which saw the NHS completely turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic. This has influenced the Long Term Plan, but not entirely to its detriment.

Back to blogs
man-video-conferencing-with-doctor-960x667

Back in 2019, the NHS introduced its Long Term Plan, a plan that would make the NHS fit for the present and the future so that it could continue to offer high-quality services to patients. 

Nobody could have predicted the events of 2020, which saw the NHS completely turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic. This has influenced the Long Term Plan, but not entirely to its detriment. 

The Long Term Plan should introduce a greater focus on digital services for patients, something which is already being seen as a result of COVID-19, providing a ‘digital front door’ to the NHS.

‘The digital front door’ explained

Under the Long Term Plan, the NHS envisions ‘digital technology providing convenient ways for patients to access advice and care’. The NHS App would act as a ‘front door’ to services, where patients can access advice, check symptoms and make appointments (and in most cases, already can). They would be able to access telephone and video consultations, which could reduce the number of outpatient appointments by around 30 million a year.

The NHS has lagged behind some other organisations in terms of digital transformation, but the Long Term Plan could see a significant improvement in the services provided to patients, providing convenience and flexibility that can make better use of resources and ease the pressure on NHS workers. 

Progress to date

GP surgeries have been quick to sign up to use the app, with 95% of practices connecting to the app by July 2019. This has allowed patients to book appointments, order repeat prescriptions, and other tasks relating to their healthcare; all through the NHS app.

While the accessibility of the app remains a key consideration, over 4.8 million users have signed up to it, a figure that could rise with vaccination passports becoming part of its remit. With people turning to digital services more than ever, it could be a matter of time before accessing the NHS via its digital front door becomes the norm.

Future implications of a digital NHS

People are more in tune with their health than ever. In 2017, 29% of people were using a health-based app to monitor their activity, and sales of smartwatches continue to rise. It’s a natural transition to access health services via mobile apps that will help people take better charge of their health.

For healthcare professionals and patients, a move to digital services could provide better access to medical data and information. In turn, this may also allow trends to be identified more easily, in addition to improvements to services.

Having digital data could also benefit healthcare market research indirectly. By understanding emerging medical conditions, outcomes of drugs trials, and treatment effectiveness, pharmaceutical companies have the potential to utilise this new source of data to drive patient innovation. Eventually, innovation will likely turn into new opportunities for the healthcare market research industry. It’s an exciting time for the healthcare industry and could see significant changes in the way healthcare is delivered across the UK. 

Looking for further information and advice about what this means for medical market research? GKA engages directly with HCPs at the front line of these digital transformation programmes. Contact the team to discuss how we can connect innovative practitioners to your upcoming research projects.

A Market Researcher’s Guide to the NHS

Looking for further information and advice about what this means for medical market research? GKA engages directly with HCPs at the front line of these digital transformation programmes. Contact the team to discuss how we can connect innovative practitioners to your upcoming research projects.