A new strategic partnership between myGP software creator iPLATO and GP service GPDQ has been launched to boost the capacity for NHS patient video consultations across UK General Practice as one in four GPs take sick leave.
After seeing a 1451 percent spike in GP video consultations being conducted during the Sars-Cov-2 pandemic, iPLATO and GPDQ have joined forces to provide surge capacity for UK-based General Practices, enabling more patients to be seen via video across the UK.
The new collaboration will provide medical practices with a team of remote doctors, pharmacists and nurses who are all able to conduct video or remote consultations via the myGP platform, in this move to provide a scalable and cost-effective solution during an unprecedented national emergency.
iPLATO currently connects 24.5m patients in the UK with their own NHS GP practice and provides the patient facing app myGP. The myGP platform is operational across over 6,500 GP practices and launched its NHS remote consultation service in December 2019. However, due to 25 percent of GPs now taking sick leave, practices are struggling to meet demand.
As the leading GP-on-demand service, GPDQ has been using its technology platform to connect its extensive network of clinicians with NHS and private patients through home visits, in-clinic or via video since 2015. By partnering with iPLATO, any practice using myGP can access experienced and highly trained GMC-registered clinical staff to act as a remote extension of their practice team.
The partnership will also enable the 9,000 GPs who are currently on sick leave to log-in when they feel well enough and help patients while continuing to follow self-isolation requirements.
Professor Mike Lewis, Chairman at iPLATO Healthcare comments on the new partnership: “With the rapidly increasing need for online and remote consultations within primary care it seemed obvious to partner with GPDQ, which is leading the way in using digital technology to help patient demand meet GP supply.
“We know that many practices are operating beyond capacity due to illness and GPs and the primary care workforce heading into isolation. By offering additional shared resource to a group of practices we can help to relieve pressure and patients can continue to receive the vital care that they need from the safety of their homes.”
Dr Anshumen Bhagat, Chief Medical Officer at GPDQ comments on the new partnership: “GPs have an innate sense of responsibility for their patients’ health and will always want to see and help as many patients as they can. We naturally want to do everything in our power to help. By fusing the powerful myGP platform with a national team of passionate, digitally-connected clinicians we can get GPs, nurses and pharmacists in front of the patients who need them most, when they need them, without delay.
“As the Sars-Cov-19 pandemic applies additional pressure on primary care, partnering with iPLATO to be a part of the myGP platform is a logical thing to do to maximise our impact. iPLATO have the network of relationships with commissioners, and we have the experts to deliver the service. We are really looking forward to deploying our workforce to help our NHS colleagues throughout iPLATO’s network.”
Paul Roberts, CEO at GPDQ comments on the opportunity to match GP supply and patient demand more effectively: “The current pandemic has forced everyone to behave differently. This includes an openness to try new ways of doing things, creating positive case studies to show how innovation can be a force for good in primary care.
“For example, we know that there are hundreds of portfolio GPs out there today who want to help but aren’t currently part of a practice team or able to work in the usual way as a locum. Our service enables all NHS-registered GPs to sign up to work with immediate effect, and myGP’s platform helps us to get them to where they need to be – seeing patients on the front line.
“Our service directly harnesses a portfolio workforce to remove the need for practices to manage variable staffing themselves, with the associated time and expense this entails. The power of collaborating with myGP is that we were able to immediately make this service available across whole groups of practices to capture further efficiencies.”
myGP, which can be accessed via a smartphone app by patients and through a secure web interface by clinicians, is the UK’s largest independent medical app with 1.6 million active users. Currently used in over 6,500 GP practices, myGP was the most downloaded medical app in the UK in 2019.
A controlled study of 750,000 appointments has shown that 26 percent of appointments booked could be met in an alternate setting rather than a face-to-face GP appointment, such as a remote or video consultations.[i]
This strategic partnership follows the launch of iPLATO’s Remote Consultation Enterprise, which was rapidly deployed to enable PCNs, CCGs and STPs to optimise digital health services across their population during the current pandemic. Acting as a hub and spoke service GPDQ will clinically triage and treat patients across multiple practices with the same access to patient records as a staff member, GP or Locum working at the surgery.
[i] iPLATO 2018. SBRI Phase 2 Trial. Date on File.