Smart Partners programme means NHS patients across Sunderland will be informed about new cutting-edge services in rapid and cost-efficient way.
Leading healthcare messaging service MJOG has spearheaded a trailblazing partnership scheme aimed at improving access to doctors for hundreds of thousands of patients.
The Cambridge-based technology firm is to collaborate 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 increased demand for services, many struggle to find the time or resources to promote innovative solutions that have been made available to their patients.
By using MJOG’s Smart Partners programme, eConsult can be confident that the more than 280,000 patients covered by Sunderland’s Clinical Commissioning Group will be informed via their mobile phones about the range of services the app offers.
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.
Kevin Nutt, managing director at MJOG, said: “We are the missing link between those developing innovative healthcare solutions and those commissioning them for use in their local area.
“Our in-house technology is already used by 4,000 GP surgeries – roughly two thirds of the market – to tell patients about upcoming appointments and promote health campaigns but now 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.
“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.”
Dr Mark Harmon, Strategic Director at eConsult, said: “The collaboration with MJOG and the Sunderland CCG is potentially game-changing for us.
“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, meaning promotion is usually done through traditional methods, such as notice boards, where it is hard to stand out.
“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 bone fide medical advice without patients needing an appointment.”
A recent survey showed 30 per cent of people in Sunderland were waiting more than two weeks to see their doctor regarding a routine matter while 15 per cent claimed it took even longer. Perhaps more concerning was the finding that more than 30 per cent had to wait 24 hours for an appointment about an urgent matter, something which is likely to lead to an unwanted increase in appearances at A&E.
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.