The NHS recently announced the development of a new app designed to help people manage their own GP record and access patient services online. But why might people want to start using patient services online and did you know that there’s already apps like Evergreen Life available that can let patients and practices do this right now? Everyone in England can access online patient-facing services through their desktop or smartphone device. We’re looking at why this access to patient online services is so important, focusing on the benefits for both patients, GP practices, and health professionals.
Since it was introduced in 2014, The General Medical Services regulation states that GPs are required to promote online services to patients. By doing this, it’s hoped that it’ll take some strain off the ever-increasing demands of GP surgeries and provide a better service to patients.
So, what patient services can patients currently access online with Evergreen Life?
Patient online services available include:
- Ordering repeat prescriptions
- Booking and cancelling appointments
- Accessing parts of their medical records (Summary Care Records)
- Viewing test results
Digital healthcare: the facts
- 14 million people are registered to use patient services online in the UK
- 37% of people said they’d rather input data into a mobile app for their clinician to monitor remotely if they had a long-term condition – rather than going for regular check-ups
- 85% say ordering repeat prescriptions online is straightforward
Why use patient services online?
Save time and money
If patients can book appointments, get prescriptions and view test results online, they’re less likely to need to call up the GP surgery. Not only does this save time for the patient, it also reduces the number of calls taken by the practice receptionists. By allowing doctors to issue prescriptions with a click of a button, it even frees up their time for more urgent matters.
Ordering repeat prescriptions online means that patients make fewer trips to the doctors’ surgery, a real benefit to those with long-term illnesses who can’t get to the practice as easily.
Having access to medical records online means that patients should be more prepared for doctor’s consultations, as all the relevant information is to hand on their desktop or app. This could potentially cut down appointment times and help doctors in making informed decisions about patient treatments.
Save paper and trees
With more companies becoming economically friendly, the move to digital has many benefits both environmentally and financially. Whilst paper can be recycled, a paperless process is much better for the environment and reduces the amount of harmful greenhouse gases.
Reduce missed appointments
If a patient is booking an appointment, they can pick a date and time that’s convenient for them. And if something comes up and they can no longer make it, they can just cancel the appointment with a few taps on the screen. This helps out GP surgeries, as it allows them to allocate other patients to cancelled space ahead of time. When patients book a doctor’s appointment online, it can also be added to their phone’s calendar, so they’ll get reminders automatically.
Improve patient care
If patients own their health information, they can correct any errors in their electronic medical record. This gives them back control, privacy and security over their own health and can potentially improve their self-care. By adding to their own information, doctors can get a clearer picture of a patient’s health and make properly informed decisions about the right treatment for them.
With online health record apps, patients can access and share this health information at any time whether it be across healthcare services, or in day to day life with loved ones. GPs can send messages privately to patients to improve doctor-patient communication, so everyone is truly clued up on their healthcare.
Patient online services can also be used to share mass communication with specific groups, anonymously, ensuring that the right patients get the right message at the right time. As a health professional, you’re also provided with reporting data on how many patients have read messages and acted on information sent electronically, making analysis and measuring effectiveness easy.
See more of the benefits to patients through the NHS Patient Online case studies:
How can you access patient services online?
There’s now a range of service options on offer to enable patients to digitally manage their own care and wellbeing. As well as online portals, apps are a quick, easy and secure way of connecting patients with a GP practice.
Evergreen Life provides both website access and an app which are connected to all three GP platforms. As part of NHS Digital, accessing patient services online via Evergreen Life is quality assured by the NHS, designed to support both the patient and GP practice.