In the face of the Covid-19 crisis, the need for telehealth and remote patient monitoring has skyrocketed. Testament to this isthe recent £2m investment in GPDQ, a UK-based company that delivers a multi-channel doctor-on-demand service, by IW Capital.

GPDQ connects an extensive network of clinicians with thousands of NHS and private patients, both through home and in-clinic visits and, crucially, via video. GPDQ’s services can be accessed by 6,500 NHS general practices via the iPLATO platform, allowing doctors in self-isolation to keep seeing patients.

The company plans to use the IW Capital investment to secure a leading position in the market by working with the NHS, employers and insurers. The funds will be used to bolster sales and account management, generate leads through increased marketing activity and evolving the company’s tech platform.

Despite the recession, the telehealth market is thriving

While the ongoing pandemic has triggered a devastating global recession, remote care companies like GPDQ could find it perversely beneficial.

“[Covid-19 has] definitely acted as a catalyst to accelerate adoption of remote consultation solutions, by both patients and clinicians,” says GPDQ CEO Paul Roberts. “It seems likely that adoption is here to stay, especially for triage and as a gateway into NHS services.”

On a larger scale, many patients have responded positively to remotely deployed healthcare in the face of the pandemic, particularly in relation to mental health therapies. The global telehealth and telemedicine market is now expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.9% over the next five years, and is predicted to be worth a combined $55.6bn by 2025 from an estimated $25.5bn in 2020.

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By GlobalData

In the face of these figures, IW Capital’s investment may seem small, but GPDQ’s decision to invest this money in sales, marketing and tech development should enable it to scale up significantly to meet increased demand for its services.

Roberts says: “As a fully multichannel healthcare service, we’ve moved to seamlessly switch many of our face-to-face interactions with patients to telephone and video. To provide continuity of care for those that need it most, we’ve developed a Covid-19 visiting service which can be used to provide continuing face-to-face care both to patients with Covid-19 symptoms and to vulnerable patients who would not otherwise be seen.”

A multi-channel approach

Of course, GPDQ has offerings outside of remote consultations, and its multichannel approach is part of what attracted IW Capital to the business.

IW Capital CEO Luke Davis says: “We were excited by [GPDQ’s] growing multichannel primary healthcare services offering, especially during a time when this has become so important to patients and healthcare providers.

“I think another key point to consider is the attractive proposition for GPs too. GPDQ is not only convenient for patients – or the user – but is also great tool for the GPs that provide the service, which is important in terms of scaling the offering moving forward.”

Unlike companies like Push Doctor or Babylon Health, which offer an exclusively digital approach, GPDQ uses iPLATO to provide access to its GPs alongside in-person appointments, meaning it isn’t confined to the telehealth market. Home and clinic appointments are obviously limited under lockdown, but as restrictions on movement lift, GPDQ’s operations should be able to fill this space.

Davis says: “The pandemic will undoubtedly mean we have to re-visit the way primary care is offered, whether that be in person or not. There will clearly be a need for physical along with online consultations which increases the need for online solutions to be effective and efficient.

“Providers who can assist with value-added services will be successful; supporting the NHS is hugely important and providing patients with a service they can’t get elsewhere sets the business apart.”