A watershed moment for digital health

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This week Livi received its inspection rating from the Care Quality Commission, which regulates the quality of NHS care. We were rated ‘Outstanding’ overall for the services we deliver, joining only 5% of other primary care providers in reaching this accolade and becoming the first digital provider to do so.

We are obviously delighted and very proud to know the care we provide to our patients is among the best in the country. But we’re equally excited about what this moment means for the digital healthcare sector as a whole.

At the height of the pandemic almost all GP care went remote (90% at its peak), truly bringing digital healthcare into the mainstream. But much like physical care, this has looked and felt very different depending on where you are and what offerings are available. That is to say, not all digital experiences are created equally.

Contrary to much of the media perception around online care, digital is not solely a means of communication between doctor and patient. It’s about an entire overhaul of how patients access, manage and engage with their healthcare.

When done well it can be truly transformative.

Scepticism around whether digital care can ever replace traditional in-person interactions misses the point entirely. It shouldn’t be a binary choice, and anyone who wants to access digital care should be confident they are receiving a standard of care that’s just as good, if not better than physical appointments.

For patients this confidence is hugely important, particularly as we look to embed the benefits of digital access we have seen throughout the pandemic. Making these benefits spread and stick elsewhere will be crucial to ensure all patients, regardless of location or background, have access to the same high quality digital care.

For the NHS, having digitally engaged patients is the foundation of encouraging more use of online tools and services. For example, independent research conducted by YouGov found that 80% of Livi patients were interested in having more of their healthcare delivered digitally, versus 50% of non-Livi patients. Making sure remote care works and is actually improving patient experience is a virtuous circle that builds momentum towards more digital innovation and adoption.

We believe our CQC rating is a coming of age moment for digital. It has always been our mission to find a better way of delivering healthcare. This is just one important step to show what can be possible.

Declan Mullaney, Public Affairs Manager