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After successful private testing with more than 3,000 patients across 30 GP practices in England, the NHS App has started its public rollout.
During testing between September and December, NHS England and NHS Digital teams listened to feedback from patients and practice staff and used this to make improvements to the app and plan the national rollout. Changes included improving the online registration process, how GP appointment information is presented, and changes to the information patients see before accessing their GP medical record.
The app is now being rolled out across England, with individual GP practices needing to review some of their system settings before they can go live and all the functions of the NHS App will be available. These actions and the gradual rollout will ensure patients have the best possible user experience of the app.
When the GP practice is connected patients will be able to use the NHS App to:
- book and manage appointments at their GP practice
- order their repeat prescriptions
- securely view their GP medical record
- check their symptoms using NHS 111 online and the health A-Z on the NHS website
- register as an organ donor
- choose whether the NHS uses their data for research and planning
Until the GP practice is online patients will be able to use the NHS App to check their symptoms using NHS 111 online and the health A-Z on the NHS website.
Matthew Swindells, deputy chief executive of NHS England, said: “The NHS wants to empower the public to take more control of their own healthcare, and the new app, which has already been tested by more than 3,000 people, will put the NHS into the pocket of everyone in England, providing safe and secure access to trusted health information, 111 online, repeat prescriptions and GP appointments.
“Through the Long Term Plan we see the app as the digital front door into the NHS, for those who want to use it, and once rolled out we will continue to develop and enhance its offer to patients, making it the must have health app for everyone in England.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I love the NHS so I want it to use all modern technology to serve patients. The NHS App will give patients more control over their own healthcare and revolutionise the way we access services.
“It marks a shift towards a truly digitised NHS and will allow patients to secure a GP appointment with the click of a button, rather than having to join a queue of callers.
“We will continue to add new features in the future to make the app the one stop shop for all NHS services, as part of our long-term plan to build the most advanced health and care system in the world.”
Wendy Clark, executive director of product development at NHS Digital, said: “The NHS App will give everyone in England who chooses a convenient tool to access the NHS, similar to the way people interact with other services, such as banking or travel booking.
“It is an important step towards providing an NHS that is digitally accessible and means that patients know that whatever they access on this app is safe and trusted and will make a positive contribution to their health and wellbeing.
“The potential of the app is huge and we will be listening to user and GP feedback as we add additional tools and services and more GPs come on board.”
Most practices will go live between April and June 2019, with the NHS App expected to be fully rolled out to practices and patients by 1 July 2019.
Patients can check whether their GP practice is live when they open the app for the first time. If their GP practice isn’t live they can choose to leave an email address and be notified when their practice goes live.
For more information about the NHS App please see www.nhs.uk/nhsapp.