In touch with patients

Entrepreneurial software used by Harley Street GPs Dr Fiona Payne and Dr Justine Setchell is now being taken up by other independent practitioners. Here they report on their company’s progress

Dr Fiona Payne and Dr Justine Setchell

Dr Fiona Payne (left) and Dr Justine Setchell outside their Harley Street practice ‘GP at 92’

Back in June 2012, Independent Practitioner Today reported our launch of GPatHome, a software package that enables patients to consult us remotely via a secure web portal.

All of our electronic communication with patients is now done via this system.

Both we and the patients love the ease and convenience of communicating in this way and the patients especially like the extended access. We run the system from 7am-7pm, seven days a week.

Being able to use the system from anywhere in the world is a huge asset for our demographic, as many of our patients either live abroad for part of the year or travel a lot for work.

We did have to add GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) to our working hours on the website though to remind them that we do need some sleep.

Having run the system with our own patients with great success, we are now able to lease the software to other practices to use for their own patients.

Our first software licence was to a new start-up private general practice in Cambridge –

Although the basic framework remains the same, each practice can personalise the website to their requirements.

Other practices may wish to operate the system at different hours – we are in discussion with another practice who may use the system for out-of-hours.

Each site ends up with a bespoke design appropriate to their own needs.

Writing this as we have, makes it all sound very easy and, in many ways, it is. But there were an awful lot of hurdles to jump and bills to pay before we were in a position to lease it.

Legal aspects

The most important aspect was probably the legals. We instructed our lawyer – another entrepreneurial female, Jo Tall at – to draw up a software licence agreement and one of her colleagues trademarked the company name and logo.

GPatHome website

The GP at Home website offering online consultations

Meanwhile, our trusty IT adviser was beavering away in the background ensuring that all the behind-the-scenes IT support was in place. We think we’ve exhausted him over the last few months. Not that we’re demanding . . . much!

But it was all worth it in the end and Cambridge.gpat­home went live on 1 October. We believe the system has huge potential both for GPs and consultants in private practice.

As the demand for electronic communication builds, so the need for a secure means to provide that – and get paid – increases.

We have the GMC’s support for our system, as well as impressive testimonials from patients.

And we even had a letter published recently in the BMJ online in response to an article as to whether patients should be able to email their doctors. We say a definite ‘yes’ with our secure system.

We are very proud of what we have achieved so far and are looking forward to continuing to expand our brand and our business.