Healthcare Technology  

Patients to be prescribed smartphone health apps by GPs

The UK's Department of Health has launched a new initiative which will see doctors prescribe patients with smartphone apps that could assist them in managing their health condition
 Patients could soon be prescribed with a smartphone app

Patients could soon be prescribed with free smatphone apps which help to manage health conditions by their doctor or GP.

The proposal is part of a new initiative launched by the Department of Health (DoH) in the UK which is aiming to make patients less reliant on doctors.

A nationwide search was launched last summer asking members of the public to share their comments on the best existing health apps and ideas for new apps.

An event is now being held to showcase the mobile phone apps that were shortlisted; approximately 500 in total.  

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Some the most popular patient suggestions for new apps were ones that help manage, monitor and control long term conditions such as blood pressure and diabetes.

An app to help patients deal with post traumatic stress was also a frequent suggestion, as was one that helped patients find their nearest NHS facility on a map.

One that gave people practical information about healthy eating and keeping fit was also very sought after.

An existing app that made the shortlist and was heavily recommended by patients was one called ‘Patients Know Best.’

This service enables patients to access their medical records and control who else can access them too.

It also gives patients the opportunity to have an online consultation with their doctor or clinician to create a personalised and tailored care plan and receive automated explanations of test results.

Patients Know Best has already been successful in a number of hospitals, including Great Ormond Street, and with community nurses and health teams.

“So many people use apps every day to keep up with their friends, with the news, find out when the next bus will turn up or which train to catch,” commented Andrew Lansley, the UK Health Secretary.

“I want to make using apps to track blood pressure, to find the nearest source of support when you need it and to get practical help in staying healthy the norm.

“Information about your health is a service – just like the GP surgeries, Walk-in Centres and hospitals that millions of people access every week,” he said.

“With more information at their fingertips, patients can truly be in the driving seat.

“Innovation and technology can revolutionise the health service, and we are looking at how the NHS can use these apps for the benefit of patients, including how GPs could offer them for free.”

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