GPs will soon prescribe smartphone apps to help patients keep a check on their health, according to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.
In August 2011, the Department of Health sent out an invitation for ideas about the best existing apps and ideas for new ones to support healthcare. It received nearly 500 entries and more than 12,600 votes.
The most popular app ideas were aimed at helping people manage long-term conditions like diabetes, deal with post-traumatic stress, track and monitor health indicators such as blood pressure, find NHS services on a map, and get practical information about leading a healthy lifestyle.
Also among the popular apps was a tool for food allergy suffers that scans bar codes on shop products to warn them if they contain dangerous ingredients.
GPs will be asked to recommend apps that are free or cheap for their patients to use in an attempt to give patients more power and reduce visits to the doctors. The Department of Health says this initiative is the next step is the drive to give patients more control over their health.
Details of the initiative will be in the government’s Information Strategy expected this spring.
One app already proving popular in the health community is called Patients Know Best. The app allows each patient to get their records for all their clinicians and control who gets access to them. They can also work with clinicians for a personalised care plan, and receive automated explanations of their results.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "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.
"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. 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."
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012