VideoDoc, a telemedicine company, offers patients video consultations with GPs for diagnosis, treatment and prescriptions. The company was founded in Ireland in 2014 and entered the UK market in March 2017. The company is hoping to capitalise on the current difficulties patients often face getting an NHS GP appointment at a convenient time. For a £20 fee, VideoDoc will book a video GP consultation. In August 2019 the UK company, VideoDoc Ltd, went into administration.
The company was founded in July 2014 in Ireland, by Damian Kissane and Mary O’Brien. It entered the UK market in March 2017.
In an interview in March 2018, Damian Kissane, co-founder of Video Doc, explained how the company are working with and fully support the NHS seeing themselves as a supplementary service rather than competition or a replacement. He commented: “We share our technology with the NHS and see our services as complementary to the work of the NHS GPs. We share information with patients consent with their own primary caregivers and as a result enable those doctors to continue to provide the continuity of NHS care.”
The most recent records on Companies House for VideoDoc Ltd are for the year to December 2016; its next set of accounts were due in September 2018.
Crunchbase reported that VideoDoc’s total funding amount at £3.8 million as a result of three seed investments of £1 million, £250k and £2.5 million.
Investments in the company came from the co-founders and private equity.
In 2017, following the latest £2.5 million investment , the company planned to create 30 new jobs over the next 12 months. Part of the investment will also be allocated to the recruitment of GPs in Ireland and the UK to ensure that, as the service grows, the waiting time to see a doctor will remain at its current time of under three minutes.
The company is targeting businesses, healthcare providers, doctors’ surgeries and hospitals through partnerships and by making its technology available through white label services.
In 2017, the company announced a digital partnership with Cardiff City FC which means they will sit alongside the club’s social media pages and official club app.
More recently in June 2018, the company partnered with the charity Anxiety UK - the leading anxiety, stress and anxiety-based depression charity in the UK. The aim is to develop an online therapy platform and mobile app to amplify the digital reach of the charity’s network of registered UK therapists.
The new service, “DOTS” (Digital Online Therapy Service) will boost the charity’s support service offer to those living with anxiety, stress and anxiety-based depression and help decrease waiting times by offering initially an extra 480 hours of online therapy appointments per week, which will grow in time based on need.
DOTS will also improve access for those living with anxiety, stress and anxiety-based depression who may be reluctant to seek help in a traditional setting due to conditions such as social anxiety disorder.
The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has expressed concern about the use of online GP consultations.
The organisation, which represents doctors in Ireland, has insisted that online GP consultations ‘should not and cannot' replace face-to-face consultations.
It has urged patients to ‘proceed with caution', emphasising that without a physical examination, online consultations can lead to incorrect diagnoses or non-compliance with clinical guidelines.
According to the IMO's GP chairperson, Dr Padraig McGarry, online consultations ‘are not medical consultations'.
"GPs provide a service with the backdrop of having the full background knowledge of the patient's medical history. Online GP consultations cannot offer this holistic approach and will fall well short of a standard which should be offered and acceptable for our patients," he commented.
He said that private healthcare companies that offer such services ‘are purely seeking to make profit' and a face-to-face consultation ‘is the safest and most effective way to deliver healthcare'.
"While online consultations can be suitable in certain scenarios, such as emergency situations where a person may need specialist medical advice and support to talk them through the steps to stabilise a patient before the arrival of emergency services, it does not and cannot replace a face-to-face consultation with a GP," Dr McGarry noted.
There is a general concern with these new digital services and their use of NHS GPs; although the doctors will be paid extra, their time and energy is being taken directly from the NHS with nothing given back. In addition, GPs already work inhumanely long hours and inviting them to work through their lunch-breaks or after hours will make this worse, meaning that all patients could receive sub-par treatment if doctors work longer days. This is just a quick digital fix for the rich that overlooks the bigger picture.