Digital health firms have the potential to dramatically reduce the stress on the NHS but there is still a lack of understanding about the crucial role they can play.

That is the view of Lee Dentith, founder of Now Healthcare Group, the North West company behind Dr Now and the artificial intelligence-led pharmacy app Now Patient.

Although Now Healthcare has the potential to help millions of patients across the UK, Dentith says the firm still faces numerous issues from within the NHS on a daily basis.

"There seems to be a lack of understanding within the health system about the role that digital health companies like ourselves can play in helping the future health of the nation," he told BusinessCloud.

"We often come up against resistance from GPs, particularly when it comes to supporting their patients to nominate Now Patient as their approved pharmacy."

"We were the first digital health company on the market place and the first to get five stars in the CQC - and ethics and patient care are our up-most priority. 

"There are some digital health businesses out who don't achieve the same standards or have the same morals as we do, so this is where some resistance to digital health cane stem from."

The Now Patient app was developed to help the 15 million people in the UK living with chronic conditions by providing their medications and GP consultations through mobile technology.

It hit the No.1 spot in app stores within weeks after going live, topping the charts in the health section on both iOS and Android as it received over 25,000 downloads in its pilot phase.

"This is a great indication of how digital health is starting to make an impact on the health of the nation and reduce the stress on the NHS," Dentith said.

Dentith, who is also CEO, established Now Healthcare in 2014.

The Salford-based group was valued at £24 million after closing a £4m Series A funding round in June 2017 from Medicash, a health cash plan provider based in Liverpool.

"There is a great deal of business support in the North-West but we feel as a growing digital health business we need to look to London or overseas, particularly when it comes to attracting serious financial investment," Dentith said.