The UK, like many countries, aims to provide the best possible healthcare to citizens that is worth their tax payments. It is a fact that there are many challenges in this area with more than 64 million people under the care of the National Health Services (NHS). Despite this, however, the NHS is still at the forefront of providing the public with accessible healthcare.
Comprehensive Health Information Service
To address the demand for healthcare at the fingertips of patients, the National Health Services launched NHS Choices back in 2007. The website provides comprehensive health information services with thousands of articles, videos, and tools to help patients select the best choices for their health and lifestyle. Here are a few other highlights of NHS Choices:
- They have a service search option that helps a patient find and compare health, support, and social care services in England. This gives the patient a convenient and efficient way to choose a provider without having to look at multiple resources.
- They publish a daily analysis of health-related news stories to keep the public informed.
- Up to a certain extent, they offer online transactions on services that gives the public a simpler way to interact with the NHS.
- They are also connected with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. This allows them to reach millions of people monthly.
This innovative step in providing healthcare services to the public has pushed practitioners to also look for better ways to treat patients. Primary care services, for example, have always received a bad reputation from patients who had to endlessly wait at a doctor’s office for a quick consultation. This situation drives frustrated patients to rely on online searches to self-diagnose their symptoms.
However, there are underlying dangers to using the Internet to diagnose health concerns. Studies have shown that using online searches to find out what is going on with your body is only useful to determine whether or not you need urgent care. In some instances, patients tend to overanalyse their symptoms based on what they find on the internet. The thing is, online searches will not be able to identify the subtleties of the symptoms we check. As such, it is true that online checkers provide helpful information so long as it is from trusted organisations such as medical schools, insurance companies, and government agencies.
GP at Hand
In response to the need for more efficient primary care, practitioners in the UK came up with an application called GP at Hand where patients can conveniently get help from a GP through the use of their mobile phones. Here are some notable features of the application:
- You can book an appointment within seconds using the app. Appointments are available 24/7.
- The doctor will contact you via the app for your appointment. You may be asked to show things on the camera like rashes or skin conditions.
- You can replay the doctor’s advice by reviewing your appointment video. There is also a ‘me’ section in the app where you can view your clinical records.
- The app also has an interactive symptom checker to help you decide whether or not you need to see a doctor.
- If there is a need for face to face appointments, the app can arrange it for you at the GP clinic of your choice.
- An NHS prescription can also be arranged for you and sent to your preferred pharmacy.
- The app also allows you to monitor your health by tracking your test results, exercise, and health information.
This application is definitely a step-up to getting primary care. Patients will have greater confidence that a GP is always available, anytime on their mobile devices.