The ASK NHS GP app is available to all patients in Lewisham. It’s free to download and helps patients take more control of their health.  By interacting with Olivia, a virtual healthcare assistant, the app features an easy to use, interactive symptom checker which asks a series of questions to assess symptoms in a clinically safe way, using NICE accredited evidence based protocol. It then recommends the most appropriate onward care which includes self-care advice via the NHS website, appropriate appointment with GP or healthcare professional, GP call back or direction to emergency care.

The app was co-developed by One Health Lewisham, the GP provider and commissioned by NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to support patients registered with a Lewisham GP to get easier access to care services.  It has received national recognition, having been nominated a finalist for the HSJ Patient Value Award 2019 – Primary Care Initiative of the Year.

It was piloted over a number of months both by clinicians and members of the public to ensure that it could meet local health needs and provide the right kind of support for patients.  One Health Lewisham embarked on a plan to roll it out across the entire borough and it is now integrated in 34 out of 36 practices. The app is easy and secure to use. More than 7700 patients are actively using it and the feedback from them has been positive and complimentary.   There are benefits for the local health economy too, because the app is able to advise on the right service depending on the outcome of the symptom checker, patients can get appropriate and timely health care and advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at their convenience.  The effects on local primary care services are already emerging with 35% of activity happening out of hours.  24% used the ‘manage my appointment’ menu which helps reduce DNAs (did not attend). In addition, a transcript of the questions and answers is sent to the patient’s practice helping to make the consultation more efficient and effective for both the patient and GP.

The app enables patients to:

  • Check their symptoms
  • Book and manage appointments at their GP practice
  • Arrange GP call back
  • Seek advice from nhs.uk

Dr Prad Velauthan, Local GP and CEO at One Health Lewisham said: “We’re really proud of the app which is empowering patients in Lewisham to take control of their health and improve access to their GP. Mobile phones and devices are part of our everyday life now and its important health keeps up with modern technology. Our app acts as a digital front door to NHS services and our patients are embracing it because it is convenient and accessible”.

The app is free to download from App Store or Google Play. For more information please visit www.onehealthlewisham.co.uk/asknhsgp