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Founder of Q doctor discusses vaccine roll out challenges

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Q doctor is set to become the biggest COVID-19 vaccination booking provider for GP practices across the UK. The company’s founder Chris Whittle spoke to Health Tech World about the challenges involved in the roll out of the COVID vaccination programme.

A Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is being rolled out this week after being approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority.

Q doctor is implementing its platform to its network of 3,200 GP practices and is also working with the NHS on other ways its technology can be used.

Additionally, the company has just signed up the Enfield Unity Primary Care Network (EUPCN). It includes 15 practices that are part of the super partnership, Medicus Health Partners.

Founder of Q doctor Chris Whittle said: “There are a whole host of operational challenges being addressed right now by primary care networks across the country. One major one is around the fact that the vaccinations that have been approved are both two-part vaccinations. A lot of the operations in place already are mostly set up for a single dose process.

“Another big challenge is around the existing need for social distancing and the operational ways to manage the volumes that are expected. Digital solutions can provide a very good way for helping with that. Patients can be messaged on mass with unique coded links. They can tap on a link and book according to the availability that the vaccination site has set up for them.

“The equivalent numbers that are expected would cause significant telephone queues. We are already live with lots of practices at the moment and they are seeing very good uptake because it is easy for patients to book in from a link with a digital access point.

“With digital you have a bit more control over which appointments people can see and at what point the patient can book in for the second vaccine.”

Whittle also touched on Q doctor’s continued growth.

“We raised investment at the beginning of the pandemic and since that time things have been scaling very quickly. Thankfully, prior to March we had already gone through a lot of due diligence and scaling process and evaluation with NHS Digital.

“We are partnered with a company called eConsult, which are the leading triage provider in the country.

“They are in about 3,200 practices so between us we cover about half of the practices in the country. We would like to maintain and expand that component and keep delivering what we see as a very synergistic piece of support that we provide together because it generally means that a patient can be remote all the way through if it is clinically appropriate.”

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