Health November 29, 2018
Increasing the uptake of digital services among patients

By Daniel Male - Accountable Care Journal

Leading healthcare messaging service MJOG is spearheading a trailblazing partnership scheme aimed at improving access to doctors for hundreds of thousands of patients.

The Cambridge-based technology firm is collaborating with online triage and consultation specialists eConsult and Sunderland's health funding authority as part of its new Smart Partners programme, which helps encourage the widespread take-up of innovative digital healthcare services.

This first-of-its-kind partnership comes at a crucial moment. With GP practices under intense pressure due to growing demand for services, many struggle to find the time or resources to promote innovative solutions that have been made available to their patients.

Kevin Nutt, managing director at MJOG, outlines the problem: “We are the missing link between those developing innovative healthcare solutions and those commissioning them for use in their local area.

“Many CCGs face challenges in communicating new services to patients and under-pressure GP surgeries seldom have the time or the energy to focus attention on it either. MJOG Smart Partners means all patients can be told about a new service in an instant, meaning that uptake is highly likely to grow. ”

What is being done in Sunderland?

Through the Smart Partners programme, over 280,000 patients covered by Sunderland’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will be informed via their mobile phones about the range of services offered by the eConsult app.

Patients using eConsult, which was created by NHS doctors and is an approved partner under the Government’s Dynamic Purchasing Framework, can communicate with their GP surgery digitally, often receiving advice within hours without having to leave home or work. Some surgeries using eConsult have seen a quarter of patients who would have sought an appointment dealt with online, freeing up availability for those most in need.

Dr Mark Harmon, Strategic Director at eConsult, said: “The advertising of our services is usually done through GP practices but most practices are so busy it can be challenging for them to find the time to effectively market new innovations to their patients. ”

“Having this targeted messaging service from MJOG means we will be able to link with all types of patient groups with key information about everything from public health awareness drives through to seasonal campaigns, as well as providing bona fide medical advice without patients needing an appointment. ”

MJOG has established a comprehensive level of saturation in England. “Our in-house technology is already used by 4,000 GP surgeries, roughly two-thirds of the market,” says Mr Nutt. “Our services tell patients about upcoming appointments and promote health campaigns but we have gone a step further with our Smart Partners programme, which will ensure hundreds of thousands of people in the Sunderland area are told that they can access online triage service eConsult. ”

Both MJOG’s and eConsult’s easy-to-use technology bolts on to each practise’s existing IT system, ensuring the partnership is entirely hassle-free for all involved.

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