The Swedish company Livi has created an online app that provides access to a GP via smartphone or tablet for consultations and prescriptions. Patients can book an appointment to see their registered GP via video link.
Livi's service is available in the UK in certain areas in collaboration with NHS GP practices.
The 10 year long-term plan in January 2019 contained plans for all GP surgeries to use digital services, such as LIVI's, within the next two years. This will have given the company a considerable boost in the UK.
LIVI is a subsidiary of the Swedish healthcare group KRY. LIVI/KRY is managed by the Swedish company Webbhälsa AB (556967-0820). Kry provides a similar service across Sweden.
The company's strategy is to introduce digital GP services around the UK in collaboration with existing GP surgeries. This means the public can access a consultation with their registered GP through their mobile phone by simply downloading the app. The company's first partnership was with the NICS GP practitioners, a large GP Federation based in North West Surrey. In August 2019, LIVI revealed plans to partner with GP federations in Birmingham, Shropshire, Northamptonshire and parts of the south east to provide services to 1.85 million patients as a result of a series of deals signed with NHS commissioners.
In January 2019, Juliet Bauer joined LIVI direct from NHS England where she was the first chief digital officer and had responsibility for digital projects focused on patients, including the NHS app, NHS 111 online, the NHS app library, and widening digital patient participation.
In March 2020, LIVI launched a free web-based platform to enable doctors to interact with patients self-isolating at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company said that the software, LIVI Connect, allows any healthcare professional to hold video consultations with their patients.
It is available in 10 languages – English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch and Polish – and LIVI’s parent company KRY has plans to roll out the platform worldwide.
In April 2020, Boots UK and LIVI announced a new long-term partnership to trial how patients could remotely access a Boots pharmacist via the LIVI app, to get general health advice and to have a remote conversation about their prescription medications. The partnership also includes a LIVI video GP service in store, as well as a range of diagnostic tools, such as blood pressure monitoring. A pilot of this service has taken place in several Boots stores and will now expand.
Since LIVI/KRY was founded they signed four investments , according to Crunchbase. Accel invested 20 million euros which was then used for investing more deeply in current markets, launching new markets, and reaching its goal of providing sustainable healthcare with equal access for everyone in Europe. Index Ventures invested 53 million euros which LIVI/KRY used for continuing building and further expanding geographically as well as to expand its medical offering. There's also been investments from Creandum and Project A however no detail about how much has been invested and what its been used on has been found.
In October 2018 Livi's app was launched in the UK under a contract with 40 GP surgeries in North West Surrey, covering 360,000 patients. Patients will be able to see their own GPs via the system and Livi's contracted doctors.
At the same time the app was launched for use by private patients across the UK. Private consultations via the app have a fee of around £49 per with the first one being for free.
In August 2019, Livi reported plans to partner with GP federations in Birmingham, Shropshire, Northamptonshire and parts of the south east to provide services to 1.85 million patients. Patients sign up to Livi through their practice so they can access video GP consultations, referrals and prescriptions through an app.
The partnerships include with Birmingham’s Our Health Partnership, Northampton General Practice Alliance and Shropshire’s Alliance for Better Care, and with several more practices in Surrey.
In March 2020, Livi was awarded a place on a contract for the provision of video consultation services for GP surgeries. Livi is one of 11 companies that were awarded a place on this contract, which was an emergency 48 hour contract tender issued by NHS England on 23 March. The winners were informed on 25 March and will work with surgeries to reduce the need for face-to-face consultations during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As with all these digital services that involve GPs, there are questions over what impact they have on GPs working for the NHS. Companies, such as Livi recruit GPs for private work, thus reducing their availability for NHS work.
Reviews on the NHS website from August 2020 to December 2020 were almost all negative and highlighted problems with long waits, cancelled appointments, and technical matters. Reviewers noted repeatedly cancelled appointments due to a lack of GPs and suggested that whatever Livi promised, the company would also suffer from the shortage of GPs experienced by a conventional surgery. There were also problems with verifying ID and prescriptions being issued.
In January 2019, it was revealed that the Livi app and many other digital services developed by private companies are not compatible with the NHS app. This NHS app is designed to be a digital “front door” for all NHS patients and is where all apps involved in GP consultations will be located.