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  • Carolyn Wickware

GPs to seek diagnostic advice from consultants via Snapchat-like app

GPs in Birmingham and Solihull will be able to get diagnostic advice from consultants using a new Snapchat-like app. The 'photo store and forward sharing' app, which is powered by the technology company Consultant Connect, allows GPs to take clinical photos and share them with other clinicians.

The mobile phone app has been likened to the popular social media app Snapchat, as the photos are not stored on clinicians’ phones, but are deleted from a clinician’s mobile and stored on Consultant Connect’s servers.

Consultant Connect chief executive Jonathan Patrick said the app ‘is information governance secure and GDPR compliant because all photos and notes are tethered to the patient’s NHS number and stored together with all advice in our secure cloud’.

NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG is planning to offer the service to all of its practices after a successful pilot across five practices, serving a population of 40,000 patients.

The pilot enabled GPs to seek advice on dermatological symptoms from other clinicians. Pat Phillips, the CCG’s senior commissioning manager, said: ‘This solution is efficient, simple to use and was quick to set up.

The benefits for both clinicians and patients are potentially huge and we can see that there are multiple ways that it can be used.’

Becky Shewring, practice manager at Richmond Medical Centre, where the app was piloted, said: ‘It is a great way to take photos when on a home visit by a GP or nurse. Attaching the photo and the corresponding advice and guidance to a patient’s notes is simple too.

‘We like the fact that patients’ details and images are kept secure and that no images are kept on phones. Clinicians like the fact that they can use their personal mobiles.’

She added that the app ‘will save time for clinicians, as decisions can be made much quicker’.

The news comes as six CCGs in London have signed a one-year deal to use an AI app that allows GPs to enter patients' symptoms and review diagnostic possibilities on their mobile.

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