High street pharmacy chain Boots UK has unveiled this week a partnership with Swedish startup LIVI, known as KRY in the Nordic markets, to provide an in-store digital GP consultation service to its customers and NHS patients.
LIVI will initially be piloting an NHS service in a Boots store in north west Surrey, where it has already partnered with GP federations, followed by a private service in the Boots Liverpool Street branch in London, which will launch on 19 September.
WHY IT MATTERS
A spokesperson for Boots UK told MobiHealthNews the service being trialled in the Surrey store was a “digital extension to local NHS GP practices in this area”.
In London, with the private service, an appointment will be £25, with potential additional costs for prescriptions or medication.
Boots said the service would be available on a walk-in basis, seven days a week. A pharmacist will support patients, who will be able to use a confidential pharmacy consultation room and an in-store tablet computer, when arriving and after the appointment.
The Swedish startup’s existing partnership with NHS GP surgeries in Surrey will enable LIVI GPs to access the same EMR system used in the patient’s existing practice, the representative added, while in the London store, patients will be asked to give their consent for a LIVI GP to access their NHS records.
“In a similar way to an NHS Urgent Treatment Centre, a LIVI GP can then review the patient’s Summary Care Record and medical history via the NHS Electronic Health Record System, as well as update the patient’s notes after their appointment.
“Patient confidentially is very important, so all information concerning GP appointments is subject to strict confidentiality in line with information governance frameworks. For both the NHS and private LIVI video GP service, patients will not be required to de-register from their local GP,” the spokesperson added.
Boots UK said the new service could help those that would not otherwise be able to use digital GP services, potentially helping to address health inequalities.
THE LARGER TREND
This week's announcement follows recent news that nearly two million NHS patients in England would be able to access Livi's services after the startup inked new partnerships with local GP federations.
The Swedish firm launched in the UK in 2018, after landing $66m (€53m) in Series B funding, and announced at the beginning of this year that Juliet Bauer, former chief digital officer for NHS England, would join the company as VP of product.
ON THE RECORD
Luke Buhl-Nielsen, country director for LIVI UK, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Boots to help more patients access quality healthcare at a time and place that suits them best.
“We believe that the health system should be more responsive to the needs of patients; digital health tech, such as LIVI, is the key to unlocking a more responsive and flexible health service. LIVI lessens the burden on the NHS – using technology to reduce missed appointments, lower costs, and improve care.”
Paul Dunne, transformation director at Boots UK, added: “Technology is changing the face of pharmacy and in this digital age, we know our patients, and their carers, want convenient, simple and accessible solutions to manage and take control of their health. Our collaboration helps make this new, digital model of care a more mainstream part of the NHS and has huge potential to alleviate the growing pressure on our healthcare system.”