Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and technology company Babylon Health have set up a 10-year partnership to deliver healthcare across the city through a specially designed app.
They have described the approach as ‘digital first integrated care’, using the app developed by the company to provide access to services delivered by the trust.
It is expected to go live before the end of the year, giving patients access to primary and secondary care and using artificial intelligence features on the app to perform an initial triage on whether or not to direct people to A&E departments.
The app will give people access to clinical consultations with Royal Wolverhampton and Babylon Health doctors and specialist nurses, enable them to book appointments and order repeat prescriptions, and to access their personal clinical records.
Other features include the ability to produce a health report, based on a user’s medical history and lifestyle and displayed with a digital twin; and the ability to generate personalised care plans for patients with chronic diseases. It can also connect to other apps and wearable tech to collect real time health information, provide alerts to clinicians if necessary, and facilitate quick clinical responses to any changes in a patient’s condition.
A spokesperson for Babylon Health said the Royal Wolverhampton had estimated it could reduce the number of appointments by 40% and take some of the pressure off A&E departments. He also said it would remove the need for GPs to spend time on the administration around appointments for patients using the app rather than visiting their surgeries.
Royal Wolverhampton’s chief executive David Loughton said: “I am delighted to announce this long term partnership with Babylon who will work alongside the trust’s primary, secondary and community care teams to deliver transformational changes to the way we deliver care.
“We know from our active engagement with patients of all ages and backgrounds that they are keen to use technology that will improve access and give them greater control of their own health, wellbeing and social inclusion.
“For example, it should be normal for a patient with a long term condition to take a blood test at home, have the results fed into their app which alerts the specialist if they need an appointment. The patient chooses a time to meet, has the consultation through the app, works with their specialist to build a care plan, and the app encourages them to complete it whilst assessing the impact it’s having.
“This is our vision for properly joined up and integrated care.
“We also know from our engagement with clinicians that releasing time to care for our sickest patients is a top priority and there is consensus that this could be facilitated by technology, if we partner with the best and work collaboratively and openly. This partnership with Babylon is rooted in clinical and patient co-design and we recognise that we are going on a journey together to transform our care delivery and our workforce.”
Babylon Health is also involved in the provision of the app based GP at Hand service in London.
Image by Andri Koolme, CC BY 2.0 flickr