Salford's Now Healthcare claims to be first online GP service to get top marks from CQC
Three-year-old company rated as having all five necessary qualities, following inspection by regulatory body the Care Quality Commission
Now Healthcare has three products: Now GP, Dr Now, and Now Pharmacy
Salford-based company Now Healthcare Group claims to have become the first provider of online GP services to meet all the requirements for digital health providers laid out by the Care Quality Commission.
The firm also said that it is the first to be rated ‘safe’ by a recent CQC inspection, a report of which was published today. ‘Safe’ is one of the five qualities health services ought to achieve as laid out by the CQC. The others are: effective; caring; responsive to users’ needs; and well-led. Now Healthcare was rated by the CQC as having shown all of these characteristics.
The company was founded in Liverpool in 2014 and has three core telehealth offerings: the Now GP virtual doctor service; the Dr Now remote diagnostic tool; and the Now Pharmacy tool for providing prescriptions.
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Now Healthcare claims to have handled more than 100,000 repeat prescriptions during the two years it has worked with the NHS. It September it will unveil details of a new platform through which 15 million people across the UK will be able to access NHS-supplied services, the firm said.
Chief executive Lee Dentith added: “At a time when patient safety and digital health services are under high levels of scrutiny, it’s an incredible achievement to be the first telehealth GP service to be found to be meeting all necessary requirements. Hopefully, this demonstrates to our public and private clients and partners that they are working with the UK’s most reputable provider and the clear industry-leader in this field.”
In March 2017 CQC published a report laying out its guidelines for digital health providers and clarifying the regulatory methodology it would use in inspecting and assessing them.
The report said: “CQC has seen an increase in the number of providers seeking registration for digital healthcare services in primary care. We are also aware that some individuals and organisations are providing regulated activities without registering as they are required to do.”
It added: “There is professional and public concern that some of these services may not be clinically safe and may put patients at risk. Our findings from early inspections have also highlighted concerns about safe care.”
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