NHS App does not negatively impact practices, pilot finds

The NHS Digital pilot testing the NHS App in GP practices in England has had ‘no negative impact’ on surgeries, according to a recent report on the findings.

In September 2018, NHS Digital and NHS England began running the pilot project to test patients’ and practices experience of the NHS App, which allows patients to book appointments and order repeat prescriptions.

Thirty-four practices took part in the pilot, which ran from September to December 2018, with over 3,000 users from those practices registered to use the app.

NHS Digital reported that while there were concerns from some practices about sending text messages to large groups of patients, ‘this did not materialise and the NHS App had no significant negative impact on the practices.’

There was also a concern aired by some practices that there was ‘no dedicated support phone line for patients’ because there was an expectation for a service that managed the sign-up to online services should have a line open. As a result, a support phone line was opened during the pilot, but, according to the report, only one call was received.

Some practices were unaware of how their appointment names were being displayed to patients on the app, and NHS England have said they will invite practice staff to webinars on the app, with advice on best practice for naming appointments. The webinars will form part of a ‘wider engagement campaign’ to get practices ready for the rollout of the app later in 2019.

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