“A great tool to help connect the dots” – NHS 24 celebrates important milestone for the NHS 24 Online app
Scotland’s digital health care provider NHS 24 is celebrating a new milestone since its launch of the health app NHS 24 Online.
Since going live in November 2022, the app has recently surpassed 20,000 downloads and feedback from clinicians in other health boards in NHS Scotland has been positive.
Anthony McDavitt, Director of Pharmacy for NHS Shetland and Orkney explains why NHS 24 Online could be key in transforming how people, particularly from remote and rural communities, access health information in Scotland:
“You can imagine people on the islands live quite remotely from different health services. There are areas where people may have to travel great distances to get the clinical appointments they need, or to understand what their next steps are.
“With this app we can link people up with the different services to determine where to go first. It’s a great tool to help connect the dots for people seeking care.”
The app is the latest online offering from NHS 24, which is Scotland’s provider of digital and telephone-based health and care services, such as the 111-service and NHS inform. It hosts a virtual chatbot function to provide advice on a range of issues including eye problems, flu-like illness or running out of medicine, and can also help people find their nearest health and care services (such as GPs, pharmacies and dentists) using postcodes or location data.
As the 18 to 34 age group are core callers to 111, and are more likely to want to access services via a smart device, NHS 24 worked with Cluster Reply, a Microsoft Partner specialising in Azure, who developed the app.
Anthony McDavitt added: “There’s still lots to do, but I think it’s a great step forward. Until the app, we hadn’t been able to achieve effective and comprehensive approaches to get patients to the right people, particularly in smaller systems like on Shetland.
NHS 24 Online really helps us add capacity to a smaller care model by giving people help and information when they need it.
“We’re starting to realise the potential that technology can bring. I’m looking forward to how algorithms can support freeing clinicians up to make sure we spend the right time with the right person.”
NHS 24’s Chief Information Officer, Ann Marie Gallacher added: “The NHS 24 Online app is an additional delivery channel for our services, via a multi-experience approach.
“I’m proud of everyone who worked so hard to deliver this in time for winter, a time which is traditionally difficult for all of the NHS. By using a cloud-first approach, we’ve been able to create a user-friendly, seamless application thanks to the tools and technologies available via the Microsoft Azure platform.”
Andy James, Associate Partner of Cluster Reply said of the launch: “We’re delighted to have worked with NHS 24 to have delivered this innovative app. We’re excited about the potential this offers citizens of Scotland to access key healthcare services digitally.”