The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the use of digital health solutions in the NHS. On 5 March, NHS England sent all GP practices a letter advising that patients be assessed online or via telephone and video appointments to mitigate the potential spread of coronavirus.
Although aimed at around 7,000 GP surgeries, hospital departments also needed to very rapidly reduce face-to-face appointments and change the way they worked.
What happened next has been the most dramatic change in the way the NHS works since its inception. Now almost two months later, thousands of GP surgeries and hospital departments are using video or telephone appointments and millions of patients contact healthcare providers remotely. Digital health solutions are now embedded in the way the NHS works.
NHS Digital reported that in March, the use of the NHS App increased 111%, with repeat prescriptions made via the app up 97% and the number of patient record views up 62%.
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak the service recorded an average of 10,000 users per day, but in March more than 16 million people used the service. Pharmacies also saw an increase in electronic prescription services up by more than 1.25 million in March.
Full article in The Lowdown, 27 April 2020