There has been a huge increase in patients using online GP services to book appointments and repeat medications at their local surgery using Patient Access.
The platform has seen a 33% rise in registrations, from six million to eight million, since the re-launch of the NHS-Digital-approved app just over a year ago.
The increased popularity of online services could help hard-pressed GPs across the country, with one revealing that it is saving his practice 8.5 days of admin each month.
With eight million registered users at GP surgeries using EMIS Health clinical systems, Patient Access is the most popular health services app, with 4.8 out of 5 ratings in both the Apple and Google app stores.
In the first six months of 2019, 3.4m appointments were booked and 9.7m repeat prescriptions issued via Patient Access. That was a 66% increase in appointment bookings and 64% increase in repeat prescriptions issued compared to the same period in 2018.
Dr Damian Williams is a GP at Hall Green Health in Birmingham, which serves 26,000 patients and was an early adopter of the re-launched Patient Access. Currently around 35% of his patients are signed up for online services, and 28% of them have record access.
He said: “Patient Access has a clean, modern, intuitive interface and I think that has encouraged more patients to use it. It is a very familiar experience for anyone who shops online."
Last month (July) patients at the practice made nearly 2,000 prescription requests online. Analysis by the practice shows that each online request saves 2 minutes of reception time, so staff saved 65 hours of reception time (8.5 working days) over the month.
Available to patients via a website or apps for iOS and Android, Patient Access recently launched a new service enabling people to book an appointment directly with their local pharmacy for a range of services – enabling pharmacists to use the full range of their clinical skills and relieve the pressure on busy GP surgeries.
Dr Sarah Jarvis MBE, GP and Clinical Director for Patient, Platform Ltd, said: As the UK’s preeminent online GP service, Patient Access moves the NHS a huge step forward in helping achieve the goal of enabling all patients and health professionals to use the best technology to provide better outcomes for patients.”
Jason Keane, CEO at Patient Platform Ltd, said: “We are delighted to have seen such a positive response from users since re-launching Patient Access. We listened to feedback from both patients and GPs to create a more user-friendly experience that is empowering patients to take control of their healthcare and take pressure off practices.”