The UK got its first mobile app that will now help patients consult their GPs 24/7 without visiting the surgeries.
Manufacturers of the app called Babylon call it "your own health service in your pocket". It allows patients to opt for 'face-to-face' video or phone consultations, text a question or even send a picture of the problem area to a GP or nurse. One also has the freedom to book appointments with specialists.
Through Babylon, which is created by former Goldman Sachs banker Ali Parsa, patients can book scans and X-rays and also get instant referrals to specialists.
"We are taking advantage of the huge advances made in technology, and linking this with the healthcare system to create a bespoke app that acts as a personal virtual hospital," says Babylon CEO Parsa.
The app can also arrange for home delivery of patients' prescriptions. Hospital scans and X-rays can also be booked through consultations with doctors.
From next year, the system will upload NHS patient records. An in-built function, Monitor Me, allows users to upload health reports that doctors can access immediately.
NHS watchdog the Care Quality Commission, and has received designated body status from NHS England. Its chief medical officer Dr Paul Glynne said, "Existing models of healthcare have become increasingly inefficient, expensive and inconvenient for patients. Babylon has created a unique secure app to provide accessible, convenient and affordable online healthcare via a patient's smartphone."