July has already seen some of the biggest recent shake ups in primary care with the launch of Primary Care Networks on 1st July, and the new NHS technology unit NHSX on the 3rd. Docly’s pioneering messaging-based consultations provide an alternative to video visits and are an integral part of the digital primary care ecosystem, keeping the benefits to both patients and GPs in mind.
Primary Care Networks (PCNs) have been developed to shake-up primary care, intending to create collaborative provision between GPs and allied health professionals. The independent GP partnership model that has been in existence since the birth of the NHS 71 years ago has been under threat for a number of years due to the rising numbers of GPs leaving the profession through retirement and burnout, alongside increasing demand from the ageing population. A recent physician survey of mental health conducted by the BMA suggested that over a third of GPs live with conditions including depression, anxiety and burnout, with 80% of this group feeling that their work environment had contributed to their condition. Overall, nearly 90% of GP partners were considered to be at high or very high risk of burnout (Caring for the mental health of the medical workforce, 2019).
Docly addresses this problem by enabling anytime messaging-based digital consultations. Docly works in collaboration with practices, providing a proven digital first solution. This allows them to contribute to and access Docly’s network of doctors without requiring patients to deregister from their regular GP. Docly creates valuable capacity for the NHS via its streamlined on-line pre-consultation data collection tools, which give patients as much time as they need to explain and explore their symptoms through intelligent condition-specific questionnaires. The clinician then has the information they need without either the doctor or patient needing to be face-to-face in a primary care facility.
Docly was created following the success of Sweden’s leading digital healthcare provide Min Doktor. The shared Docly platform has now been used by over 500k Min Doktor patients in Sweden.
Docly actively works to prevent burnout and fatigue amongst doctors, promoting a Swedish approach to work-life balance. Docly’s ability to provide greater clinical capacity enables practices to optimize their resource. Docly enables greater flexibility for the physician’s working life and the opportunity for a portfolio career, an approach that is supported by a recent article in the BMJ. No doctor should feel they need to leave the health system due to burnout, and Docly supports a flexible way of working regardless where they are in their career. With this in mind, Docly have also launched #GenerationDocly – a social movement where doctors of all backgrounds can share their Docly experience in a collaborative environment.
Barnaby Poulton, Managing Director of Docly UK, commented, “Docly strongly support and align with the decisions made by NHS England and NHS Innovations joint board meeting on 27th June, continuing to support overburdened GP practices. At Docly, we believe all areas can benefit from a safe, clinical guideline driven service, where a fast internet connection is not required. Our doctors and patients are seeing the real benefits of our service”.