Right now, digital technology is really coming into its own to help fight the coronavirus crisis and I’m really feeling that what I do for a living has a genuine sense of purpose.
Why? well I’m hoping you’re one of hundreds of thousands of people across England who’ve had a short text message from the NHS saying something like this:
To support you to continue to access and help your practice to deliver essential care during Covid-19, download the NHS app
For many of you it will be the first time you’re hearing about the NHS App. For me, it’s something I am very familiar with, because for the past 10 months I’ve been part of a brilliant blended team working within NHS Digital on this product. As the coronavirus crisis unfolds, it’s been so rewarding to see how the NHS App is being used to support the Government’s response to remove pressure on our healthcare providers and enable people to maintain their health whilst self-isolating and social distancing. The NHS App has many thousands of registered users – many using it to access online GP services for the first time. And since Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced his ‘Stay home, save lives’ policy on Friday 20 March, just over a week ago, we’ve seen thousands of new users registering to use it.
Patients and practices are embracing digital healthcare technology
The App’s become an important digital tool in reducing physical contact with frontline NHS staff whilst empowering patients to access health services. It enables people to get trusted Coronavirus symptoms advice and use 111 online. And by creating an account linked to your GP surgery and NHS number, users can currently book telephone triage appointments at some practices, order repeat prescriptions though a nominated pharmacy and use a range of other health services.
As we all continue to respond to this crisis in so many wonderful ways, the NHS App design and delivery team continue to develop and integrate more new features and services to provide further support to patients and practitioners. So, whilst I struggle though my daily emotions dealing with self-isolation, social distancing and remote working – doing my bit to help the NHS App play its digital role in getting us through the coronavirus crisis really is making it easier for me to maintain a sense of purpose and perspective and be thankful for the work I do. If you haven’t received an NHS text message yet, you can simply download the NHS App from Google Play or the App Store.