Tele-pharmacy app saw 400% spike in use in cold snap

The UK tele-pharmacy app, Now Patient, experienced a 400% rise in patients trying to request GP consultations and order repeat prescriptions during the recent snowy weather.

The freezing weather system dubbed “The Beast From The East”, followed by Storm Emma, caused chaos for the UK’s health service last week.

News headlines were dominated by the efforts of NHS staff, some of whom braved the elements to walk in to work to care for patients, while others slept overnight in hospitals during the cold snap.

Now Patient, available on Apple and Android devices, is a free service that was developed to assist the 15 million people in the UK living with chronic conditions, such as lung and liver disease.

According to Now Healthcare, which runs the service, the app saw numbers increase by 400% compared with the previous week, including services such as remote GP appointments and repeat prescriptions.

Increasing use of digital health technology was a key part of the Five Year Forward View, published by the NHS in 2014, as a way of providing relief to overstretched services.

Lee Dentith, founder and CEO of Now Healthcare Group said the cold weather had demonstrated how services such as Now Patient could take pressure off front-line services during times of crisis.

He said: “The recent severe weather left so many people unable to get an appointment with their GP and, with over 15 million patients in the UK suffering from chronic care conditions, we can provide a revolutionary complete end-to-end primary healthcare solution – which can empower more people to manage their own healthcare needs and reduce the strain on our country’s overstretched NHS services”.

Patients can nominate Now Patient as their NHS pharmacy to get free delivery of repeat prescriptions nationwide.

Next-day delivery is guaranteed, and in central London patients can have their medicines with them in as little as two hours.


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