Develop and distribute an application (Locally referred to as "Your NHS County Durham" for example) for smartphones and tablet PCs such as iPhones/iPads and Andriod devices which will allow users to access the same decision tree logic that is used by NHS Direct and the 111 service. Additional uses would include broadcast messages for Flu vacs, survey invitations and other comms.
Patient could access information regarding the best place to receive treatments or advice in an anonymous setting.
The app would be interactive and would ask users questions following the script of NHS direct and/or 111 service operators. Based on the responses given by the user the app could carry out a number of functions.
For example, if the risk score is deemed too high then the app will automatically go to the device’s in built dialler and call 999. If the outcome is that the user needs to see their GP then a reminder could be added to the users calendar to remind them to call the practice when they are open. As GP appointment booking becomes more advanced the app will directly book an appointment through the practice’s website (if deemed appropriate). The Your NHS County Durham app could also give details of alternative services or potentially difficult to deliver advice regarding lifestyle choices. As many smartphones and tablet devices have built in GPS location services, users could be given a list of alternative services near to them with sat nav style directions if required.
Once a user has downloaded the app to get what they need from it, it will remain on the device allowing broadcast messages to be sent to users for things like Flu vaccination reminders and other communications from the PCT and GP Commissioners.
Users could also store details of repeat prescriptions, regular appointments etc which would alert them to whatever action needed to be taken.
If the app proved to be popular there could be the potential to integrate it with other health related services such as choose & book, blood donor service requests or user surveys.
Bespoke communications to healthcare users regarding the most appropriate method of delivering the required care. Patients don’t need to worry about asking potentially embarrassing questions to someone over the phone but instead can access information they trust directly from the NHS.
Fewer patients would attend A&E departments resulting in fewer hospital admissions.
HEALTH ECONOMY BENEFITS
This will reduce the total expenditure at A&E and reduce the number of emergency admissions via A&E departments along with reduced demand on Ambulance services.
Targetted Public Health messages could be sent to users based on the enquiries they submit and/or their demographic profile.
This app could evolve over time into a "Your NHS" app as user uptake and participation increases becoming the first place that technologically capable users would contact any NHS services.
As the "Your NHS" app evolves it would take a user to the most appropriate service, book them an appointment and then remind them to attend rather than just tell them where the service is located.