Digital solutions will play a key role in helping primary care networks address health inequalities and build back post-covid, writes Matt Elcock
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At Push Doctor, we have always been deeply proud to partner with the NHS, but never more so than in the face of the monumental challenges it has faced in the last 16 months.
Under immense strain, the NHS handled the greatest health crisis in this country’s modern history and has overseen the successful rollout of a vaccine which we hope, in the near future, will consign the pandemic to the past.
These are remarkable achievements. But the passing of the pandemic will not remove the NHS’ pre-existing and longer-term demographic, funding and structural pressures, which have been exacerbated by covid-19, not caused by it.
The pandemic tested the mettle of primary care networks – a relatively new piece of the NHS’ architecture – but one which played a central role in meeting the challenges of covid-19.
In the post-pandemic world, we believe PCNs will be key engines of digital innovation within our health system. Our recent report, Digital Innovation for Futureproofing Primary Care, shines a light on some of the creativity and fresh thinking which is helping these groups of GP practices – our NHS partners – to close the primary care capacity gap, tackle health inequalities and equalise access to digital healthcare.
This includes how Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare Trust is using Push Doctor across 46 GP Practices – over 300,000 patients – to address health inequalities and build back post-covid; how Warrington Innovation Network is using additional clinician types like physiotherapists and pharmacists to alleviate recruitment burdens and improve medical support and choice for patients and how Heaton Moor Medical Group is using Push Doctor to address patient demand and increase resource during busy periods.
We began life as the UK’s first platform to offer video consultations online and via smartphone – offering quick, easy and convenient access to NHS-trained, GMC-registered doctors – but these days our technology does much more than that. We help surgeries manage demand, matching patients with the clinician best suited to help them in the first-instance, while also enabling the NHS’ many disparate databases to communicate seamlessly with each other.
Our collaboration with the NHS continues to grow and we now reach 5.8 million patients. By working in partnership with PCNs and others in primary care, Push Doctor opens a doorway to a different NHS. Still the same amazing organisation that we all know and cherish, but one which finds new ways to benefit patients by putting powerful digital technology in the hands of clinicians.
Click to read and download Push Doctor’s report, Digital Innovation for Future-proofing Primary Care.