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21.04.20

Britain’s GPs reducing coronavirus risks with phone, video technology

Words provided by X-on, editorially reviewed by National Health Executive

GPs and returning healthcare workers are utilising the latest ‘breakthrough’ digital phone and video technology from their homes to help remotely address the huge care demands created by the coronavirus pandemic, protecting the frontline workforce from coronavirus infection.

Following close collaboration with GPs, cloud communications provider X-on has developed the GP@Home service, which allows doctors to provide patients with the same level of phone and video care from their home as they would from their surgery. The award-winning technology provider has also developed Video Connect, which enables GPs to switch from phone to video consultation in a single click.

The product suite integrates with major clinical systems such as EMIS and TPP’s SystmOne, which are used by doctors’ surgeries to hold patient information. Being able to access directly whilst on a phone call helps save time for GPs and surgery staff, which is vital now as the country is gripped by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Trialling the GP@Home software, Dr Neil Paul, an expert in IT for GPs and who practices in Cheshire, highlighted the technology’s impressive ability to help doctors work more safely in light of the pandemic and allow home workers to answer the phone as if they were sat in the surgery.

Dr Paul said: “It solves the ‘I don’t want to use my own phone to make hundreds of calls to patients problem’ which is affecting thousands of practices across the country.”

GPs across London are some of the first in line for the technology, which has been developed by X-on through listening to the needs of general practice.

Six hundred practices already use X-on’s Surgery Connect to rapidly provide the public with access to information about the virus, and many are using the pioneering companion technology Video Connect so they can switch from phone to video call with a simple click on a link. Unlike many other systems, the patient does not need to download an app, and the doctor does not have to schedule when a video consultation will take place.

iStock-1182248151

Cloud communications provider X-on has developed the GP@Home service, which allows doctors to provide patients with the same level of phone and video care from their home as they would from their surgery
 

Dr Barry Sullman, Newham GP and Clinical Commissioning Group Clinical Lead, said: “This is a game changing piece of software that has allowed my practice to perform normally through the Covid-19 crisis.

“It is business as usual for me - and Video Connect plays a key role in delivering that. Video call quality is extremely high and supports remote diagnosis.

“By being able to diagnose a diverse range of conditions such as skin rashes reliably, and by being able to assess the clinical condition of a patient confidently through high quality video, face to face appointments at the surgery are saved, which in turn increases the access capacity of the surgery.

“The technology also records the phone or video call, and links it to the clinical record, so that doctors can refer back to the information if required.”

X-on is helping thousands of staff in general practice deliver on the ‘digital-first’ initiative put forward by NHS England and NHSX in their rapid response to the situation. This encourages GPs to use the phone and digital means for triage and consultation, so as to help manage increased demand and to reduce the risks of infection.

X-on Managing Director Paul Bensley added: “The digital transformation of your local family doctor is taking place at an incredible pace and scale.

“It is vital that we leave no-one behind, and so it is essential that we make sure that the phone can meet the current needs of patients and professionals, but also those for the long term as they make the move to ‘digital-first’ primary care.

“Digital telephony is enabling hundreds of practices to put in an equitable, future proof digital front door to primary care.”

X-on is also offering free teleconferencing services to regional health providers as they collaborate around their response to the pandemic, with multiple primary care networks and commissioning groups having taken up the offer.

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