NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG has renewed a contract to provide patients of GP practices in their area with access to a Symptom Checker and online appointment booking app.
The Symptom Checker uses a unique clinical algorithm to accurately identify a patient’s symptoms, then guides the patient to the most appropriate next step. If necessary, the app’s appointment booking facility enables them to book an appointment with an appropriate healthcare professional at their GP practice, or provides signposting to other healthcare services – such as NHS 111 or 999, if a more urgent response is needed.
The Symptom Checker recognises up to 1,200 presenting complaints, including mental health conditions.
The services provided by the CCG form part of the PatientPack app developed by health technology firm Substrakt Health, which is used by 3 million patients in the UK.
The app can also offer additional services such as access to medical records, repeat prescription ordering, virtual consultations, patient messaging and online health assessments for conditions such as cancer and diabetes.
Ash Vora, Managing Director of Substrakt Health said “We began working with Sandwell and Birmingham CCG in 2019, piloting our PatientPack app initially across a number of practices in their area.
“In April, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and in response to NHS England’s advice for practices to move quickly to a total triage model, Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG asked us to roll out the Symptom Checker and online appointment booking services to other GP practices in their area, which we achieved in just two weeks.”
Dr Zishan Yousef, Digital Clinical Lead at Sandwell and Birmingham CCG commented: “Providing GP practices in our region with access to these types of services allows them to achieve greater efficiencies, whilst ensuring the best patient care.”
“The Symptom Checker guides patients to the most appropriate next step before they have even interacted with the surgery, saving the practice valuable time. The online appointment booking facility also reduces the workload on staff, whilst making the overall patient experience quick and easy.”