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Tech Trends for 2017: Digital doctors

The medtech revolution is upon us, making it all the easier for patients to seek professional help via their smartphone…

The proliferation of technology means that now, more than ever, we rely on the internet and apps to aid our lives. From using our phones to request a cab or order food, advances in digital have made everyday tasks all the more convenient.

Given that it can take up to three weeks to secure an appointment with your GP, and with many people opting to forgo advice from a medical professional and using search engines like Google in order to self-diagnose ailments, you can expect to hear a lot more about digital doctors in 2017.

With an estimated 58% of people in the UK already using health and well-being apps, the linking of technology to the approach of how we seek medical attention is long overdue.

Start-ups and clinicians have been making strides in medical technology (medtech) with apps that connect patients to a GP and others that make it possible to see a qualified physician virtually, without having to wait for an appointment.

Some of these digital doctor services do require you to pay but others, like Doctify, are free to use as clinicians pay a monthly fee to list on the app. A site which enables you to search, book and compare doctors, Doctify is set to ramp up growth in 2017 having recently announced a seven figure Series A funding round led by Amadeus Capital Partners.

While apps like Doctify have a clear benefit to patients in the UK, there are other apps that are making such advances in medtech that they have made it possible to for people all over the world to gain access to medical advice.

Medshr, founded by cardiologist Dr Asif Quasim, offers this service and is currently used by 120,000 doctors globally; including doctors working in Syrian refugee camps. The app has grown phenomenally since its conception with £1.5m seed funding round announced this month – a good sign that we can expect to see growth in the number of digital doctor-related apps and services next year.

How it works

There are number of companies operating in the space at the moment, including PushDoctor and Dr Care Anywhere, that are set to expand in 2017. In January of this year PushDoctor secured an $8.2m Series A round backed by Oxford Capital, Draper Esprit, and Partech Ventures.

Apps like PushDoctor enable you to have a video consultation (up to 20 minutes long) with a qualified GP on your tablet or smartphone. You can book appointments at any time of the day, seven days a week, and, with around 7000 GP’s available, the app allows you to find the right GP for you. PushDoctor is also working towards building an electrical signature technology so that prescriptions can be sent by email.

In addition to the UK, Doctor Care Anywhere's international service allows you have virtual appointments with doctors anywhere in the world meaning that if, for example, you're on holiday and come down with an illness you can seek medical advice from a professional at the click of a button. What’s more, the app enables doctors to refer patients to specialists, access health tracking, and tap into patient records.

On the digital doctors trend, which is particularly popular with businesses and employees, Kate Newhouse, chief executive officer of Doctor Care Anywhere, said:

“The combined effect of work pressures, busy lifestyles and the difficulties with accessing a GP means that people often neglect their basic healthcare needs.

“By offering employees the flexibility to see a GP at a time and place that suits them, whether they are at work, home or abroad, and tools to better manage their health, employers can ensure that they have a healthier, happier and more productive workforce”


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