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New features planned for NHS App


Mark Say Managing Editor

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NHS App on smartphone screen
Image source: NHS Digital

NHS England is planning to add a range of new features to the NHS App to support more personalised care at home for patients.

The move is part of a new Plan for Digital Health and Social Care, published today by the Department for Health and Social Care, which also includes increases in remote monitoring and the provision of digital care records.

DHSC said the first round of new features of the app are scheduled to be in place by March 2023.

They include functions for: booking Covid-19 vaccinations; NHS notifications and messaging, such as reminders and alerts for vaccination bookings and prescription readiness; notifications and messaging from GPs; viewing and managing hospital elective care appointments across participating trusts; seeing new information in a GP record by default, with the ability to request retrospective information; and access to a user profile for managing contact details and registering with a GP practice.

There are also longer term plans to add features for improving access to screening services, child health records and relevant clinical trials.

Monitoring patients

Other elements of the plan highlighted by DHSC before publication include increasing the use of remote monitoring to cover a further 500,000 patients, on top of the existing 280,000, with long term conditions by March of next year.

There are also plans to develop a National Digital Workforce Strategy, create 10,500 new data and technology positions in the NHS, embed the development of relevant digital skills into university curriculums, and provide a digital learning offer for adult social care staff.

It also reiterates the aim of rolling out electronic patient records to 90% of trusts in England by December 2023, as stated by Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid in February.

DHSC said that £2 billion had been allocated for the digitisation of health and social care in the last Spending Review.

Javid said: “We are embarking on a radical programme of modernisation that will make sure the NHS is set up to meet the challenges of 2048 – not 1948, when it was first established.

“This plan builds on our data strategy to revolutionise digital health and care, which will enable patients to manage hospital appointments from the NHS App and take more control of their own care at home, picking up problems sooner and seeking help earlier.

“Ensuring more personalisation and better join up of the system will benefit patients, free up clinician time, and help us to bust the Covid backlogs.”

Ambitious vision

Dr Timothy Ferris, national director of transformation at NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: “By harnessing the power of digital and data we can improve both how people access services and the way we provide care.

“Today’s plan for digital health and care sets out an ambitious vision for a future where the NHS puts more power and information at patients’ fingertips, and staff have the tools they need to deliver better and more joined up services for those who need them.”

Publication of the plan comes two weeks after DHSC produced a data strategy for health and social care with seven principles to underpin work in the sector. 


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