The end of 2021 marked 3 years since the launch of the NHS App. There was a sharp increase in the number of people signed up to the app in the past year, partly because of the integration of the COVID Pass. There are now more than 26 million registered users, compared to 2 million at the start of 2020. The app provides quick and secure access to a range of personalised digital health services. It gives people more control of their own care, allowing them to book GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions and register organ donation decisions. 22 million users have now chosen the high-level verification service, which gives access to the app’s full features.
NHS login offers patients a single, trusted login account to access health and care websites, apps and services. Over the past year, we have developed its capabilities and now have 56 integrated partners and services. In 2021-22, users securely logged in to digital health and care services using NHS login 1.1 billion times. One feature of the service is the ability for users to update their contact information on the Personal Demographics Service. 7.8 million contact details were updated by patients in 2021-22, ensuring health and care professionals have up-to-date information to support the delivery of services.
In 2021-22, there were more than 1.2 billion visits to the NHS website. As well as providing the public with reliable and accessible health information, including COVID-19 guidance, the NHS website also hosts digital tools and services to help connect patients with the treatment they need. In June 2021, the ‘Get your NHS COVID Pass letter’ service went live, allowing people to request a printed, audio, large print or braille NHS COVID Pass letter for travel as an alternative to the electronic confirmation already available via the NHS App. To date, more than 7.3 million letters have been requested and sent out.
Our Urgent and Emergency Care services, such as NHS Pathways and NHS 111 online, help manage the demand on NHS services. NHS Pathways is the national clinical tool used to remotely assess and triage NHS 111 and 999 calls. It handled nearly 20 million calls in the year and we continued to develop the system with 5 major releases. These included clinical updates on a range of topics such as mental health, improving chest pain triage and COVID-19. Acting as an audit for the NHS 111 service, our Repeat Caller Service monitors users who have been processed through the service 3 times or more in a 96-hour period. In September 2021, we upgraded the service to a more modern platform.
Our Direct Care APIs team has worked with GP clinical system suppliers to develop new application programming interfaces (APIs). APIs make data from clinical systems available in a standard form so that authorised clinicians can access it when and where they need it. Our Access Record HTML product gives clinicians a read-only view of a patient’s record, regardless of their practice’s clinical system. That means the record can be viewed within another GP practice, an urgent care call centre, or an acute care organisation via an accredited system or application. Our Appointment Management product allows GP appointments to be shared across primary care networks so that organisations can manage appointments and support joined-up patient care. In 2021-22, there were more than 36 million interactions with patient records via Access Record (HTML), with 99% of GP practices in England enabled to share records. More than 1.7 million appointments were booked for patients using Appointment Management.