The UK’s VitalityHealth, the business formerly known as PruHealth, has launched Vitality GP, a mobile-enabled service offering 24-hour access to a medical professional via telephone, as well as video appointments within 48 hours.
By integrating into Vitality’s partner network, VitalityHealth said Vitality GP will co-ordinate treatment that includes on the clinical side, home-based services such as blood samples taken by medical professionals, and delivery of prescriptions through the LloydsPharmacy network.
On the wellness side, the insurer said the ability to confidentially and securely access a member’s Vitality wellness data will also allow the Vitality GP to consult with patients broadly around their lifestyle choices, and the effect that these choices could have on their long-term health.
According to VitalityHealth, the availability of this data means the Vitality GP not only performs the traditional role of the GP in managing illness, but also serves as a lifestyle coach for members; consulting appropriately on interventions such as nutrition, exercise and stress that in turn can prevent the early onset of disease caused by poor lifestyle choices.
Members can also make choices including the gender of their Vitality GP and take advantage of special devices such as smart-phone camera lenses to enable more accurate assessments of complaints e.g. skin conditions.
Neville Koopowitz, CEO of VitalityHealth, said Vitality GP heralds a major change in the way people seek and consume healthcare.
Koopowitz said: "Private healthcare has often fallen down by its reliance of needing an NHS referral; Vitality GP represents the launch a new category of insurance where our network of private GPs can co-ordinate members’ care when and where they want or need it."
Dr Doniert Macfarlane, telemedicine expert, said: "It’s my view that the private sector – health insurers and private healthcare – provides choice and removes a population from the NHS, thereby reducing waiting lists and taking pressure off services. It’s about time we recognised the positive impact this has."