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Free video consultations to help GPs tackle coronavirus spread

Four thousand GP practices will be able to offer video consultations to millions of patients in a major initiative to help tackle the spread of coronavirus.

Potentially up to 35 million people could consult their GP by video, accessing the service via the free Patient Access app. The emergency action from EMIS Health will see it mobilise the quick release of video consultation software across its EMIS Web clinical system, used by 4,000 practices in England.

The aim is to help GPs reduce the number of visits to surgeries – preventing the risk of practice closure and ensuring vital GP services remain in place. The Video Consult service will be provided at no cost to practices for a temporary period (12 weeks) and online training and support materials will be given.

Dr Shaun O’Hanlon, chief medical officer at EMIS Group, said: “This a major initiative that will provide practical support for thousands of GPs – caring for around 35 million patients – during this escalating situation. “While some practices are already using video consultations, most are not. By rolling out the software across our whole EMIS Web user base, we are making the technology available to any practice that wishes to use it. There are very clear benefits for GPs, practice staff and patients.”

EMIS Health is running a webinar this week to brief all surgeries and help with rapid deployment of the technology. If practices switch on the service, patients can book video appointments via the Patient Access app on their mobile phone or computer. Patients can access video appointments by registering and linking to their EMIS practice via http://www.patientaccess.com.

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