A new online portal that allows GPs and healthcare providers to treat people remotely so as to protect themselves from Covid-19 has gone live.
The portal is a collaboration between the HSE and Wellola, an Enterprise Ireland-backed company. It took just four days to build the platform using technology already developed by the Dublin-based company.
Launched on St Patrick’s Day, the portal allows GPs and primary-care providers to easily offer patients a range of services, including online bookings, a video consultation service, secure messaging and form completion to assist in triaging.
As all data is hosted in the cloud, any clinicians who might need to self-isolate at home will still be able to care for patients.
Wellola co-founder Sonia Neary said the primary aim of the service is to protect medical practitioners on the frontline offering care. The platform is free to patients and also costs nothing for medical practitioners for the first month. It will then be available to caregivers for the cost price of €19 a month.
Speaking to The Irish Times, Ms Neary, who together with Dr Greg Martin founded Wellola in 2014. said close to 40 general practices have already signed up to use the service within the first 24 hours of it going live.
“There are approximately 2,500 GPs in Ireland. We are hoping the majority will take up this opportunity,” she said.
“Those that we are speaking to want to be able to contribute to caring for their patients, even if they themselves are in a position where they have to work from home. With our system they can share records securely in the cloud alongside offering video consultations,” she added.
Dr Martin Curley of the HSE digital transformation team said he believed the platform would be "a key tool in providing remote care and a critical tool in helping avoid further contagion of Covid-19".
“We encourage GPs and other healthcare providers to access and use this service which is provided at cost,” he said.
The new portal has been welcomed by the Irish College of General Practitioners, which said it welcomed all strategies that protect GPs and their staff as they care for patients with Covid-19.
Seperately, Dr Knut Moe, a Dublin-based GP and associate clinical professor at UCD, has designed a website that allows general practictioners to fill in Covdi-19 screening forms online. The site - covid19gpscreeningform.com - which went live on Sunday, is free and has already had 160 GPs who have signed up to use it.