Healthcare in your pocket....there's an app for that

16 September 2015
  • Almost two thirds (60%) of UK workers say they would be more productive if they felt happy and well at work [1].
  • Over half (58%) of workers say they would think about their health more if their employer provided them with digital technology to do so [2].
  • Bupa UK partners with babylon to provide digital healthcare services on the smartphone for busy workers.
Man with phone

The benefits of a healthy workforce are increasingly apparent with almost two thirds (60%) of workers saying they would be more productive at work if they felt happy and well in the workplace. In addition, over half (58%) say that they would be encouraged to think more about their health and wellbeing if their employer provided them with digital technology to help them do this.

To meet this demand Bupa UK has partnered with babylon to provide virtual healthcare services for busy workers. Accessed securely through an app on a smartphone or tablet device, babylon enables employees to:

  • Have a face to face video consultation with a GP - speak directly with them over video link, phone, or text message, bookable in seconds, often available within the hour
  • Text medical questions or photos for quick advice
  • Organise referrals to see a specialist
  • Manage medical notes and prescription deliveries
  • Proactively monitor their health and understand their body better


The partnership provides employees with a unique integrated service which supports them to be seamlessly referred by babylon to a Bupa recognised consultant, or for a face to face GP consultation if required. This can be to their own NHS GP or to one of Bupa’s many GPs across the UK.

Patrick Watt, Corporate Director, Bupa UK said:                   

"We know that health and wellbeing is high up on business’ agendas, particularly because a healthy workforce is crucial to a successful business. But we also recognise that people’s healthcare needs and expectations are changing - they increasingly want fast and easy access to healthcare products and services and welcome digital innovations that support this. That’s why we are focused on delivering new innovative online and digital services like babylon, helping businesses put access to quick and easy healthcare into the pocket of every employee.

“Our new partnership with babylon is just one of many examples of how we will be investing in online and digital services to meet people’s demand for fast and easy access to healthcare.”

The research shines a light on the increasing demand for virtual healthcare services, with over half of people saying they want to be able to book healthcare through an app, with 31% saying they would make use of virtual healthcare appointments if these were available. [3] It also found that four in five workers (85%) feel their employer has a responsibility to look after their health and wellbeing. babylon allows businesses to engage with all their employees on their health and not just those covered by health insurance – helping to improve the health and wellbeing of their entire workforce.

Ali Parsa, founder of babylon said:

“Technology has changed almost every aspect of our lives from our shopping to socialising, and is about to make a massive impact on healthcare for people everywhere. Digital health will offer us a profoundly simpler, better, and more affordable experience. Bupa is a great partner that is serious about innovation in healthcare. Combining our reach means that the majority of the UK’s corporate employees can choose to receive most of the healthcare they need from the convenience of their mobile devices anywhere, anytime.”                                         

Bupa’s customer Citi takes the health and wellbeing of its workforce seriously, making this a key element of its employee offering, including a well-equipped on-site health centre at its London Office and a comprehensive medical plan for staff. Citi will be rolling out babylon to its UK workforce as a key element of its health and wellbeing strategy.

James Bardrick, Chief Country Officer, Citi said:

“Citi is an innovative organization and we believe that innovation needs to extend to the way we interact with our workforce, providing them with a first class range of health and benefits services.  We are pleased to be associated with Bupa and their partnership with babylon which will help our employees access medical care in a simple flexible manner that meets their and their family’s needs.  This reflects our broader approach as an employer that differentiates Citi as an employer of choice”

In addition to booking and managing appointments, babylon users can also monitor their health with an extensive dashboard of health analytics, all of which can be shared securely with GPs or consultants. With access to medical notes and recordings of consultations for playback, people can even share previous consultations with their doctor.

Earlier this year Bupa launched Bupa Boost, a digital platform designed to support businesses to improve the health and wellbeing of their workforce. Babylon is the latest innovation that Bupa has adopted to help address the changing healthcare needs of people across the UK.

[1] OnePoll survey of 1,000 employed adults in the UK between December 2014 and January 2015

[2] OnePoll survey of 1,000 employed adults in the UK between December 2014 and January 2015

[3] Nationwide online survey of over 2,000 adults, carried out by YouGov between 25 - 26 March 2015

Notes to editor

Further information about babylon can be found at

Key features

  • Video consultations – babylon provides video consultations with experienced, GMC registered, UK based GP’s and when a referral is provided, with specialist consultants.
  • ASK – babylon have doctors and nurses available to provide fast response answers to text and photo based health questions.
  • Pharmacy services – If a prescription is required, babylon can send it to your home or pharmacy of your choice.
  • Monitor – babylon have a comprehensive dashboard of healthcare statistics which can provide the user and their clinicians with a holistic picture of their health. Wearables, apps and healthcare kits can be synced to the dashboard. Alternatively data can be manually added.
  • Tests and Kits – Members can purchase healthcare kits and technology from Babylon in their e-shop

Benefits to employees

  • Appointments can be arranged around busy working schedules, with longer opening hours than traditional GP’s (8am-8pm Monday to Saturday).
  • babylon enables people to phone, video-call or message GPs.
  • babylon works with a network of pharmacies, allowing employees to collect prescriptions near to home, or have them delivered to wherever they are.
  • babylon has a range of healthcare specialists, so there is no need to visit a hospital for many conditions.
  • Everything can be managed on one app:
    • Arranging and booking appointments
    • Prescriptions, medical records, and consultation videos.
    • Connecting to other health and wellbeing apps to monitor health and share with the doctor
  • As a Bupa member, if you see a babylon specialist rather than a consultant in an outpatient facility, your outpatient benefits will reduce by a standard £49 per consultation. This is lower than costs for face to face consultations.

Benefits to businesses

  • Employees do not need health insurance to use babylon, meaning it can be offered to more of the workforce as a low-cost benefit.
  • It enables businesses to provide health and wellbeing benefits to the whole workforce at a more manageable cost.
  • babylon demonstrates the value businesses place on their people’s health and wellbeing, providing them with easy access to health information and clinicians.
  • As employees can access healthcare from the office at more flexible times, babylon can help reduce absenteeism and increase productivity.
  • All babylon consultants are Bupa plan and fee-assured by Bupa UK, meaning there won’t be any shortfalls.
  • There is no limit on appointments each year.

About the research

  • Support from employer - OnePoll survey of 1,000 employed adults in the UK between December 2014 and January 2015.
  • Digital demand – Figures from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,011 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 25 - 26 March 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

About Babylon:

babylon is a personal health service aiming to make healthcare more accessible and affordable to people around the world, by combining the best technology with the best clinicial expertise. For example, the ‘Consult’ service connects patients to the best GPs and medical specialists within minutes, available twelve hours per day, six days a week, all in one easy-to-use app. babylon patients can also use its first-class technology to take an active approach to managing their health, using features including the text-powered ‘Ask’ function, right up to its medical monitoring functions.

The company was launched in 2014  by CEO Dr Ali Parsa. babylon is fully registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). All babylon doctors are carefully selected and registered with the General Medical Council (GMC).

About Bupa

Bupa's purpose is helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives.

With no shareholders, our customers are our focus. We reinvest profits into providing more and better healthcare for the benefit of current and future customers.

We have 15.5 million health insurance customers, provide healthcare to around 14.5 million people in our clinics and hospitals, and look after over 23,300 aged care residents.

We employ over 78,000 people, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, Poland, Chile, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the USA, Brazil, the Middle East and Ireland, and many more through our associate businesses in Saudi Arabia and India.

Health insurance is around 70% of our business. In a number of countries, we also run clinics, dental centres, hospitals and care homes and villages.

For more information, visit

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