• Led by Vocare: West Midlands Doctors Urgent Care NHS 111, in partnership with Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group, Advanced Health and Care Ltd, Sense.ly, and Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group.
  • To be implemented in two GP practices in Dudley that have a total population of 50,000 patients.  
  • Aims to put patients in control of their health and guide them through local services.
  • Will pilot an avatar-based virtual nursing app. 

There are over 100 million requests within the NHS for urgent care each year. Emergency departments, GP surgeries and ambulance services struggle to cope with this ever-increasing demand. Innovative solutions are needed to deal with public expectations for 24/7 care, together with the need to provide person-centred care to an ageing population with increasingly complex health care needs.

This project involves the use of digital mobile technology to relieve pressure on NHS resources by enabling more effective self-care, and more appropriate and timely use of primary and urgent care services, including NHS 111.

A mobile app will be developed that patients can use before contacting NHS 111, urgent care services or primary care. The app will help put patients in control of their health and guide them through local services. It will allow patients to communicate with a virtual nurse using voice recognition software and button presses.

The aim is that patients will be directed to the most appropriate service first time, whilst also obtaining self-care advice.

The app will initially be made available to patients at two GP practices within Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group. The number of patients who download and make use of the app will be measured, as well as the types of problems that are assessed, the outcomes the app recommends, and the extent to which the app’s advice is followed.

The aim is to reduce demand on NHS services, provide an alternative communication channel, access to 24/7 self-help information and facilitate navigation of NHS services.  

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