iPLATO’s new NHS App integrations could save NHS £18m a year

iPLATO has launched extended NHS App integrations available to GP practices. Available features include Keyword Replies, Triage within the NHS App and a new and improved Remote Consultation Toolbar. These new features offer better clinician user experience, more accessible patient care and more transparent cost control for NHS commissioners.  

According to NHS data, 53% of patients in England use the NHS App. iPLATO expects existing customers to save over £1.2m through the launch of keyword replies within the NHS App. If NHS England were to deploy iPLATO’s platform nationally, savings of up to £18m could be delivered.   

 Better handling of patient demand  

Practices can easily manage incoming patient requests through the newly released Triage on the web, available to add directly to their practice websites as a digital front door. Soon to be followed by the upcoming release of triage within the NHS App, iPLATO’s tool is already available to patients in the myGP app.  

Accessible on the web as well as within two of the most popular patient-facing apps in England, these integrations offer patients unparalleled digital-first access to GP services. Patients can easily submit administrative, prescription or medical requests to their GP through a simple and easy-to-use triage process, using these three routes.  

Ann Neville, Practice Business Manager in Lancashire expects iPLATO’s omnichannel triage to continue to grow rapidly in usage amongst patients commenting “it’s very easy for patients to follow and will improve patient access to the practice”.  

iPLATO’s Triage also extends to automated signposting to community services and online support services.  


Enhanced clinician responses to requests  


iPLATO’s updated Remote Consultation toolbar now offers GPs better control over outbound and inbound replies. Enhancements include scheduling future sending times which is proven to boost engagement, data collection and appointment attendance.?GPs also have access to new Patient Questionnaires as part of the baseline Remote Consultation toolbar service.  

“Our primary focus is to enhance clinician-patient communication to help deliver the best possible care outcomes. The upcoming release of our completely redesigned toolbar offers a modern, intuitive experience for clinicians. This will be the foundation for future upgrades designed to save you time and money by reducing repetitive admin tasks, improve collaboration among practice staff, and ensure more targeted, efficient patient care.” 

 Omar Fleming, Product Manager at iPLATO


Efficiency from Keyword Replies 


iPLATO practices users now have access to Keyword Replies within the NHS App. This feature lets practices set parameters for data collection, such as requesting smoking status, or allowing a patient to cancel an upcoming appointment through controlled two-way communication. This feature is fully integrated within the NHS App giving patients the most secure, accessible and seamless experience on the market. Patients can respond directly without requiring re-authentication or redirection to a separate interface through a web link. Compared to alternatives, it’s easier for patients to complete, yielding higher response rates.  

“Being the first to allow patients to reply to messages directly from the NHS App means we can offer unique benefits to patients and GP practices. Patients receive the simplest and most accessible experience, whereas GP practices can communicate with their population knowing when a message has been read and without the burden of SMS costs and associated character limits.”

Adam Faucheux, Senior Product Manager at iPLATO



Why simple works  


“A system that works for everyone is a system that works well” explains Tobias Alpsten, Founder of iPLATO.

“I’ve seen systems fail to deliver the intended uptake and value simply due to complexity. Simple wins every time, both for patients and for doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals using the platform. An overwhelmed healthcare system requires support from digital tools to simplify where possible. Offering many capabilities within one platform means better delivery of engagement and ultimately, better care.”  


 Cutting the costs of patient messaging 

The NHS App is one of the most powerful patient communication tools available to NHS commissioners, hosting over 30 million users. Optimising this channel with population usage visibility is now available through iPLATO’s utilisation dashboard. Understanding the size of an ICB’s population with “notifications enabled” gives better cost control and enables ICBs to truly realise the benefits of the NHS App. At provider level, GP practices can view who on their practice list is an NHS App user and has notifications enabled.  

With initial targets already surpassed, GP practices are well on track to achieve the new NHS App uptake target by 2024. Full transparency and real-time user insight are needed to use the NHS App to its full potential in maximising cost savings.  

According to recent research into patient communication costs in the NHS, currently some regions spend over £1 per patient per year on SMS systems. As a result of in-app messaging and other volume control features iPLATO can offer unlimited messaging with generous fair usage caps that allow ICB commissioners to save up to 80% of their SMS bill.