As part of the GP Forward View Programme (GPFV), Online Consultations Programme NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has commissioned One Health Lewisham (OHL) to develop and implement a new app, ASK NHS GP. It has been centrally funded to support practices to enhance access and improve patient flow. It features an interactive symptom checker which triages the patient to the most appropriate onward care service (self-care through NHS Choices, GP appointment or accident and emergency).
The ASK NHS GP app has been developed by local GPs to manage demands on practices in a clinically safe manner whilst improving patient experience. Once downloaded onto a smart device (tablet or mobile phone), the patient is asked a series of questions (approximately 15), which enables the app to prioritise patients into appointment slots based on their needs (using Advanced NICE accredited protocol) so patients that really need to be seen earlier will be, and those with less urgent needs will be offered later appointments. Where the patient requires a GP appointment, the app directly links into the EMIS system and the patient is able to book an appointment without having to call the practice reducing the time and workload for busy receptionists. In addition, a transcript of the triage will be filed into EPR (electronic patient record) at the patients practice, helping to make the consultation more efficient and effective.
The app has already been tested by local patient groups and will be piloted at 8 development sites in phases before wider rollout to all practices in Lewisham.
A borough wide support programme has been devised to assist practices implement usage of ASK NHS GP. This includes training and resources for practice staff alongside a local team assisting in implementation as well as being available for support. Assets and content for practice websites and patient information material will be provided. OHL will distribute SLA’s for this service along with more details including financial support for practices in due course. In addition, OHL will publish a patient information webpage with FAQs which practice websites can link to. A comprehensive communications plan is being coordinated by the CCG and OHL to raise awareness and support implementation of the app.
OHL and Lewisham CCG will be holding a practice engagement event in the Autumn for practices to experience Ask NHS GP and make expressions of interest. More information about the app and details about this event will be shared in due course. Meanwhile, should you have any questions about Ask NHS GP, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.