First private drive-thru Covid test centre opens in London
On-demand doctor service GDPQ has launched the first private drive thru Covid test centre in London, to help manage the overwhelming number of tests needed across the capital and the ongoing issues in receiveing prompt tests results.
GDPQ has launched the service to meet the increasing demand for testing. People experiencing Covid-19 symptoms can book a 10 minute slot at the site in Hadley Wood, a suburb of north London, using GPDQ’s online system.
The tests are conducted using swabs on-site at the centre, and the result is available within 24 hours. In the case of a positive result a GP will call to provide a consultation on how best to manage symptoms and address any concerns.
The UK has seen a substantial rise in infections since September, however there have been issues with access to testing, with reports of the test booking system suggesting the closest test centre for people in London is in Inverness, Scotland.
The lack of tests has meant many people self isolating without being sure whether they have Covid-19. Since schools reopened, children that develop any symptoms such as a fever they are sent home, and not allowed to return unless they've had a negative test or isolated for 10 days, which also affects other household members. Some schools send home as many as 250 children.
The problems with accessing tests has meant rationing, allocating these to frontline healthcare staff in the first instance.
“Over the past few weeks we’ve seen reports of delays with the UK’s Covid-19 testing system. The situation is becoming increasingly serious; patients are being told to travel miles for or a test or, in some circumstances, test just aren’t available" says Dr Anshumen Bhagat, a doctor for the National Health Service (NHS) and Co-Founder of GPDQ.
“People have been reduced to staying at home for 14 days with worrying symptoms and no guidance on when a test may be available. We’ve therefore launched this service to support the ever increasing demand for drive thru testing, especially in the capital to provide people with peace of mind and the ability to live as normally as possible.”
The tests cost £199 if administered by a clinician in at the test centre or in the person's home, or £129 if delivered to a home address for the person to self-test. GPDQ also offer antibody tests - to detect antibodies in the blood to establish whether the person has had the virus, and remote doctor consultations.
Zoom enters the healthcare market - a timeline
Since the pandemic began Zoom has become an integral part of daily life for people working from home, as well as a vital tool for families and friends to communicate. However it's also been eyeing up the healthcare space since 2017, and following the boom in telehealth the company has been rolling out additional services. Here we chart Zoom's move into healthcare.
2011 - 2013
Zoom is founded in San Jose, California, by Eric Yuan, formerly of Cisco. He got the idea to create a video calling platform from his visits to his girlfriend while he was a student, which would take 10 hours by train.
A beta version is released in 2012, which can host up to 15 participants. In 2013 this rises to 25. By mid-2013, Zoom has 1 million users.
2014 - 2017
Zoom attracts investors, including Sequoia Capital, Emergence and Horizon Ventures. By January 2017, Zoom has a series D funding worth $100 million.
2017 - 2019
Zoom for Telehealth launches, including an integration with EHR system Epic. It has cloud-based video, audio, and content sharing features, a "waiting room" for patients, and can easily be integrated into healthcare provider's workflows.
In 2019 Zoom goes public, with its IPO rising 72% in one day.
As a result of the pandemic, Zoom gains 2.2 million new users, more than in the whole of 2019. On the 23rd of March alone - the day the UK lockdown was announced - the platform was downloaded 2.13 million times around the world.
Share prices rise to around $150, and founder and chief executive Eric Yuan becomes one of the world's richest people, with an estimated net worth of $7.9 billion.
Early security issues are addressed by encrypting data with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). By now the the platform allows 99 people to be on a call simultaneously
New features launch, including Zoom Home and Zoom for Chats. Throughout the year the platform is used to replace most kinds of real life events: work meetings, online classrooms, church services and social events.
Renamed Zoom for Healthcare, users can share secured video, audio, and content through desktops, mobile phones, and conference devices. As well as Epic, it can be integrated with Strmr, IntakeQ, and Practice Better.
It can also be used with diagnostic cameras and other point-of-care devices, including digital stethoscopes.
In an interview with Korea Biomedical Review, Zoom Global Healthcare Lead Ron Emerson said: "Our service is not simply a virtual care and telemedicine platform but a multi-purpose platform that can satisfy the needs of healthcare institutions."
"It can be used for administrative tasks, including telemedicine, medical team meetings, recruitment, medical education, employee training, and disease prevention. Analysing electronic records managed by Zoom could provide meaningful insights into patient care."
Phoenix Children's Hospital, Belfast's Hospital Services Limited, Butler Health Services and the global Project ECHO are among Zoom for Healthcare's current customers.