Tech offers GP consultations by smartphone

Friday 23rd August 2019

Patients in one of Scotland’s health boards are being offered ‘virtual’ consultations with a doctor which can be booked and accessed using a smartphone.

Several GP practices in Lanarkshire are introducing the system, called Attend Anywhere, as part of a new study.

Patients access an online ‘waiting area’ before a GP or other healthcare worker joins for a secure video call. The app works on a similar basis to FaceTime.

Consultations have now been conducted at trial surgeries across Lanarkshire and patient will be offered this type of appointment where appropriate.

If the results are promising, the tech will be extended across the region.

Health bosses describe the development as a ‘significant milestone’.

Morag Hearty works in technology at NHS Lanarkshire and the Scottish Government. She says: “This technology has the real potential to reduce the need for physical GP appointments and saving time so GPs, nurses and other general practice staff can spend more time with those living with the most complex needs.

“Crucially, by investing in improved technology across health and social care, we can improve patients’ experience and give them more choice about how to manage their conditions.

Ms Hearty added: “It’s important to note that we are in the early stages of this programme and, during this phase, Attend Anywhere will only be offered to patients when appropriate at a few participating practices.

“We will be closely monitoring the results of this early work and using it as a platform for a wider rollout. The overriding aim is to augment existing services and deliver health and care that is secure, safe and tailored to people’s lifestyles.”

Linda Findlay, medical director at South Lanarkshire Health & Social Care Partnership, added: “The introduction of Attend Anywhere marks another milestone in our journey to deliver health and care that is suited to the changing needs of the people of Lanarkshire.

“Technology like this can support people to manage their health and wellbeing both safely and conveniently whilst at the same time reducing pressure on the health and care system.”