Number of NHS App users double in three months as ambassadors get to work

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NHS Digital has reported that the number of patients using the NHS App has more than doubled since the introduction of its NHS App Ambassadors scheme three months ago.

Since September 2019, the number of registered NHS App users has risen from 91,000 to over 220,000, according to NHS Digital.

It follows the launch of a campaign spearheaded by NHS chief nurse, Ruth May, focused on encouraging staff to download the app and promote it amongst friends, family and colleagues.

In total, 645 App ambassadors comprising frontline NHS staff have been working in their organisations and within their professional groups to encourage use of the app.

Since then, more people than ever have booked NHS appointments digitally rather than calling their local surgery, NHS Digital reported, with 1.4million GP online service appointment transactions taking place in September alone.

Tara Donnelly, chief digital officer at NHSX, said: “NHS staff play an important role in telling people about the NHS App and supporting them to use it. As members of NHS staff, we all use the NHS too and so we’ve been talking to staff about how the NHS App can really benefit them, especially given the busy lives so many lead.

“A growing range of digital tools are available alongside the NHS App, using the infrastructure we developed in building the app, giving people an important choice in how they access NHS services online.

“Our intention is to encourage NHS staff to help people to understand the choices available. This will mean that some people choose to use another tool instead of, or alongside, the NHS App.”

“We are getting terrific feedback that digital tools are helping put people in better control of their healthcare, and it’s important that, as more and more patients begin using digital routes to access the NHS, our NHS staff are well informed about them to be able to give their patients confidence, and what better way for staff to do that than be a user of digital tools themselves.

Launched in late 2018, the NHS App allows users to access a range of NHS services via a smartphone or tablet.

Available to download on iOS and Android devices, patients can, for example, manage repeat prescriptions, book appointments at their GP surgery and view their GP medical records.

Ian Phoenix, director of technology for citizen health at NHS Digital, added: “It’s fantastic to see so many NHS staff choosing to use the NHS App themselves and reporting back to us that they’re seeing benefits, whether it be from being able to quickly and simply order their repeat prescriptions, view their medical records, set their organ donation preferences or check symptoms.

The staff-facing campaign marks the first stage of the NHS promoting the app to patients, with broader public-facing activity set to begin in the coming weeks.

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