The 'ASK NHS GP app' enables Lewisham patients to take more control of their health
The ASK NHS GP app is available to all patients in Lewisham. It's free to download and helps patients to take more control of their health. By interacting with Olivia, a virtual healthcare assistant, the app features an easy to use, interactive symptom checker, which asks a series of questions to assess symptoms in a clinically safe way, using NICE accredited evidence based protocol. It then recommends the most appropriate onward care which includes self-care advice via the NHS website, an appointment with a GP or healthcare professional, a GP call back or directions to emergency care.
The app was co-developed by GP provider One Health Lewisham, and commissioned by NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to support patients registered with a Lewisham GP to get easier access to care services. It has received national recognition, having been nominated a finalist for the HSJ Patient Value Award 2019 – Primary Care Initiative of the Year.
The app is easy and secure to use, and was piloted over a number of months by clinicians and members of the public to ensure that it met local health needs and provided the right kind of support for patients. One Health Lewisham embarked on a roll-out plan across the entire borough, and it is now integrated in 34 out of 36 practices. More than 7700 patients are actively using it and the feedback from them has been positive and complimentary.
There are benefits for the local health economy too. The app advises on the right service depending on the outcome of the symptom checker, so patients can get appropriate and timely healthcare and advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at their convenience. The effects on local primary care services are already emerging with 35% of activity happening out of hours and 24% using the 'manage my appointment' menu which helps reduce DNAs (did not attend). In addition, a transcript of the questions and answers is sent to the patient's practice helping to make the consultation more efficient and effective for both the patient and GP.
The app enables patients to:
- Check their symptoms
- Book and manage appointments at their GP practice
- Arrange GP call back
- Seek advice from www.nhs.uk
Dr Prad Velauthan, Local GP and CEO at One Health Lewisham said: "We're really proud of the app which is empowering patients in Lewisham to take control of their health and improve access to their GP. Mobile phones and devices are part of our everyday life now and its important health keeps up with modern technology. Our app acts as a digital front door to NHS services and our patients are embracing it because it is convenient and accessible".
The app is free to download from App Store or Google Play. For more information please visit www.onehealthlewisham.co.uk/asknhsgp