A healthcare technology start-up based in Liverpool has developed Dr Now, a smartphone application that enables people to book a virtual appointment with a GP and order medicine.
The Liverpool-based company is attempting to duplicate the success of firms such as Hailo and Just Eat, whereby customers can gain goods and services via a tap on their smartphone. The application is available on iOS and Android smartphones.
The application attempts to help people who either cannot book an appointment due to the strain put on the NHS, or for those who are tech-savvy and don’t want to book a physical appointment with a GP.
The app is also aimed at small businesses that are looking to cut down on paying sick leave for its employers.
Customers can gain a video consultation with a certified GP, as well as the ability to order medicine to their home or office which can be delivered within 24 hours of purchase.
Dr Now has already experienced a soft-launch in June, in which the app gained 300 subscribers. Customers have to pay a subscription fee of £4.99 a month to use the service, or pay a £29 fee for a one-off consultation.
Over 250 doctors have been recruited to consult for the application, including Dr Andrew Thornber, one of the start-up’s four founders.
The application has been under some criticism recently, with claims that a virtual consultation isn’t as effective as a face-to-face doctor’s appointment, a statement that Savvas Neophytou, co-founder of Dr Now argues against.
‘‘We are not replacing GPs. All we are doing is providing a solution for today’s go-to society.’’
Neophytou goes on to claim that 90 per cent of doctor’s appointments do not include a physical examination, a statistic that makes virtual consultations seem plausible.
The British Medical Association has a mixed opinion on applications such as Dr Now.
‘‘New technologies have great potential to enable the public to manage their health more effectively and lessen some of the unprecedented pressure the NHS is facing from rising patient demand, falling resources and staff shortages.’’
‘‘However, remote or recorded consultations with an attached fee have their limitations. Many members of the public will be unable to afford this service and all patients who have serious concerns about their health should physically go and see their doctor. This will always be the best way of assessing someone’s health needs.’’