More than 28,000 people across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire are benefiting from pioneering technology which is transforming healthcare in the city and county.
It’s called the “Notts NHS App – Personal Health and Care Record” and it’s exclusively available to local residents who have downloaded the NHS App.
The NHS and social care services across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire are utilising the NHS App and another tech product called Patients Know Best (PKB) in order to revolutionise health and care throughout the city and county.
Patients at Eastwood Primary Care Centre are among those benefiting from the Notts NHS app, which gives them (and their healthcare professionals) everything they need to manage their care.
From accessing their medical records to managing appointments, reviewing medication and ordering repeat prescriptions, checking symptoms and tracking their own health.
The App also custs down on phone calls or unnecessary visits by enabling patients to send messages and complete questionnaires securely.
The App is local patients’ one-stop-shop for health and care information and services, available in one secure place that people can access from the palm of their hand – or via the web if they prefer. But don’t be confused – this isn’t the NHS Covid-19 App, used to alert people at risk of Coronavirus. The Notts NHS App does not track your location, but does provide links to the 111 service if you are concerned about symptoms, including those of COVID-19.
It is being delivered by Connected Nottinghamshire, the recent winners of a Health Tech News Award who manage the Notts NHS App programme set up by Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care System. GP, Dr Nicole Atkinson is optimistic that it is just the start of a revolution in healthcare which will see more positive results for the NHS and individual patients.
She told Nottinghamshire Live: “The Notts NHS app is enabling our patients to access healthcare like never before – giving them more flexibility to access primary care services and their medical records in real time. It is especially useful for those with long term conditions and saves patients waiting on the phone to book appointments.”
As staff in GP surgeries come under increasing pressure due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Notts NHS App ensures patients can still have contact with health and care professionals in a way that protects the staff from an unsustainable workload. Dr Atkinson added: “It enables GPs to check [a patient’s] symptoms through the App. Sometimes this means patients don’t need to attend the surgery.”
These virtual consultations are particularly necessary as England entered a second lockdown. Dr Atkinson makes it clear that the App will have huge advantages for GP practices across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire during these unprecedented times. She added: “With all the Covid-19 restrictions this is useful at the moment, but the benefits are long term and this is just the beginning, opening up so many opportunities for the future.”
The primary aim of the Notts NHS App is to give patients more control over their health and wellbeing. More than 90 GP surgeries have joined Eastwood Primary Care Centre in using the Notts NHS App in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire with around 300 patients signing up to the digital platform each week.
Nottingham and Nottinghamshire GP Surgeries aren’t the only ones benefiting from the App. Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has recently rolled out functionally which allows their outpatients the ability to receive their appointment letters via the Notts NHS App – an alternative to being posted a paper copy.
As more organisations, such as secondary care and social care providers, start utilising the functionality, patients will be able to have increased control and knowledge of their health and care needs. Dr Atkinson, explains: “Not only are patients able to get information and find out about their symptoms on the App, the PKB tech gives them access to a full range of care services and helps them to feel more supported.”
They can utilise services more effectively, enabling them to book appointments at surgeries a time that best suits them. They can also use the App to ask questions about their symptoms or medication. We can reply back and assess whether they need to come in to see us, or if we need to set up a video call to discuss their enquiries further.
Patients can order prescriptions through the App as well – again, it certainly saves time waiting to get through on the phone and takes pressure off our staff at the surgery who are freed up to help with other healthcare needs of our patients.
Around 60,000 people in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire have downloaded the NHS App – the highest take up for anywhere in the UK. But some patients remain sceptical that it is depersonalising healthcare. Dr Atkinson is positive that this is not the case. She said: “The Notts NHS App is in addition to the healthcare services that we are already providing – not instead of the regular appointments that continue to be available. Our patients are advised to self select what works best for them. Not all of our patients are tech savvy. But they don’t have to be. Connected Nottinghamshire has a great support team on hand through its Digital Inclusion project.
The team can assist people with any tech questions they may have, and offer a wide range of support services to guide them and help them to understand how the technology can benefit them. Many of our patients have taken to it like a duck to water and find it to be revelation and empowering.
As the Notts NHS App develops and more health and care providers start to use the functionalities, more opportunities will open up for residents of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire to take control of their wellbeing.
For example, developments are on-going to enable patients to monitor their pulse rates and oxygen saturation levels and send them through to health and care teams via the Notts NHS App, so the teams can make assessments and decide whether or not they need to see them.
This functionality will especially help people with long term conditions, like asthma and diabetes and can also offer real time advice on allergies. Dr Atkinson, said: “This is presenting a very exciting future for healthcare. It will enable medical professionals to access patients’ information in real time, along with the patient, to offer a more holistic approach to their healthcare needs. It’s changing the culture of how we offer our services.”