Babylon Health to create city-wide digital health service with UK hospital

Babylon Health, the company behind the GP at Hand phone app being piloted in the NHS, has partnered with a UK hospital in a bid to create the world’s first integrated digital health system serving an entire city.

The 10-year partnership with Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust aims to provide remote access to GPs and hospital specialists at times that suit patients.

The first new services are expected to go live before the end of this year.

Other services planned include live monitoring of patients with chronic conditions and personalised care plans developed with Babylon’s AI technology.

These will be delivered through a single, free app for maximum convenience and to avoid unnecessary travel.

Financial details of the agreement have not been fully agreed and a spokesperson for the company told pharmaphorum this is under discussion after both parties signed a memorandum of understanding.

But according to Babylon it is expected that both parties will contribute to the project, which is seen as a “joint venture” between the two organisations.

Through the app, patients could be able to have clinical consultations with doctors and specialist nurses, while also giving patients control of appointment booking and prescriptions.

It will also create health reports based on a user’s medical history and lifestyle, displaying it as a “digital twin”.

An AI Health Assistant will give users medical information and triage advice, based on epidemiological data.

There will also be care plans to support proactive care of patients, and a real-time monitoring service using information from wearable tech and connecting apps.

A rehab service aims to provide fast remote clinical responses to help recovery and avoid readmissions.

The Royal Wolverhampton Trust is one of the largest acute community providers in the West Midlands region, with more than 850 beds at its New Cross site, 56 rehab beds at West Park Hospital and 54 beds at Cannock Chase Hospital.

It is the largest employer in Wolverhampton, with more than 9,400 staff covering more than 350 different roles.

Babylon was given permission to expand its GP at Hand service in neighbouring Birmingham after it received backing from England’s independent healthcare watchdog, the Care Quality Commission at the end of 2019.

Blessing from the CQC came two years after the watchdog said in a report that it provided unsafe care, and doctors have criticised the service because of the initially poor reviews and concerns that it targets mainly young and healthy patients.

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