Launch of two new enhanced GP services apps for employees
Access to online GP services continues to be a highly attractive benefit for UK employees who appreciate the ability to receive medical advice at their fingertips via their phone or laptop.
With increasingly longer waiting times to see an NHS GP coupled with falling numbers joining the profession, more and more people are looking elsewhere to get medical support – and employers are fast catching on.
Two new GP services apps have been launched within recent weeks by providers keen to ride this particular wave.
Leading UK EAP provider Unum has launched its new Help@hand app early in September, offering benefits to employees and their families.
Key services include access to a remote UK-based GP at any time of the day or night. The aim is to provide contact within two hours of the call with unlimited face to face video consultations. As well as that, two second opinion consultations a year are also provided, after diagnosis from a treating doctor, and these are face to face or via video. Those who have this EAP can also benefit from up to eight mental health support and physiotherapy consultations a year, including the initial assessment.
Unum is offering Help@hand to its users at no extra cost in partnership with Square Health, which has access to more than 5,000 specialist providers throughout the UK.
Meanwhile, insurance giant AIG is also offering its own remote GP services app, Smart Health, which provides a broadly similar suite of benefits.
Like Help@hand, Smart Health is also available to both employees and their families (with Smart Health, children are included up to the age of 21) at no added cost.
Smart Health promises to connect users with round-the-clock phone or video access to a GP, with the ability to book a 30-minute slot at a time that suits them, anywhere in the world. Second opinions are also catered for by “world-leading experts”. Employees can also talk to the GP about their mental health, who can then suggest a support strategy and arrange a suitable professional to get in touch.
Smart Health is also offering personalised health reports with the aim of helping people take charge of their own health “and take proactive steps to manage their lifestyle”, as well as fitness and nutrition consultation programmes.
“These new medical access support apps launched by Unum and AIG are taking the whole idea of GP consultations to a whole new level,” says IHC consultant, Paul Roberts. “The idea of helping employees to be seen by doctors away from long NHS waiting lists is not really that new any more. The benefits have been clear: patients have appreciated the ability to get their problems and worries checked out without the stress of having to wait weeks for an appointment and then probably have to take time off work to get it.
“But these apps are taking the idea of medical services and offering a whole new range of enhancements that are going to be very highly valued by staff.
“We are really seeing a trend now for people taking charge of their own health and making huge efforts to try and stave off illnesses before they happen, by analysing what they eat and making other lifestyle tweaks. Apps like Smart Health are really focusing on that side of things by offering nutrition consultations and fitness elements that are tapping into that desire.
“At IHC our job is to help our clients by offering advice as to what types of benefits will appeal to their staff and how to make the most of what they are paying for.
“Another interesting benefit that’s being offered with both of these apps is the inclusion of a person’s family. It certainly will be of great value to know that alongside the ability to get access to 24/7 video GP consultation for yourself, you’ll also be able to access for your partner and children too, wherever you are in the world. I’m sure that’s an aspect of these particular apps that will be of great interest to a wide range of people. After all, it’s not just ourselves we worry about, it’s our loved ones too.”
To find out more about how GP services apps could benefit your business, contact your IHC consultant.