NHS England has announced that the NHS app, which will allow patients to book and manage their GP appointments alongside a range of other services, has begun its public rollout across England.
Results from testing the tool across 3,000 over 30 GP practices was successful. NHS England and NHS Digital analysed feedback generated by patients during the trial in order to refine the product. Changes to the app during this time included adjustments to the online registration process, the way in which GP appointment is presented and the information given before accessing GP medical records.
The app was originally made available at the end of December last year and a web-based version will be released in the upcoming months. The capabilities of the tool include booking and manging appointments at their GP practice, ordering repeat prescriptions, securely viewing GP records, checking symptoms, registering as an organ donor and choosing whether the NHS uses their data for research and planning.
“The NHS wants to empower the public to take more control of their own healthcare, and the new app, which has already been tested by more than 3,000 people, will put the NHS into the pocket of everyone in England, providing safe and secure access to trusted health information, 111 online, repeat prescriptions and GP appointments,” said Matthew Swindells, deputy chief executive of NHS England. “Through the Long Term Plan we see the app as the digital front door into the NHS, for those who want to use it, and once rolled out we will continue to develop and enhance its offer to patients, making it the must have health app for everyone in England.”
The app is a big step for healthcare in the UK, which places it in line with the way people interact other services, such as banking or booking travel. “It is an important step towards providing an NHS that is digitally accessible and means that patients know that whatever they access on this app is safe and trusted and will make a positive contribution to their health and wellbeing,” said Wendy Clark, executive director of product development at NHS Digital. “The potential of the app is huge and we will be listening to user and GP feedback as we add additional tools and services and more GPs come on board.”