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NHS GPs to get virtual consultation technology through new partnership

iPLATO and GPDQ have teamed up to boost capacity for GP video consultations during the coronavirus lockdown

A new strategic partnership between myGP software creator, iPLATO, and GP service, GPDQ, is set to boost the capacity for NHS patient video consultations across UK general practice as one in four family doctors is forced into isolation.

After seeing a 1451% spike in GP video consultations being conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic; iPLATO and GPDQ have joined forces to provide surge capacity for UK-based GPs, enabling more patients to be seen via video across the UK.

The 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, providing a scalable and cost-effective solution during this unprecedented national emergency.

iPLATO currently connects 24.5 million 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% 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.

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

By partnering with iPLATO, any practice using myGP can now 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, said: “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.”

Paul Roberts, chief executive at GPDQ, adds: “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 frontline.

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 frontline

“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, it was the most downloaded medical app in the UK in 2019.

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.

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