Patient Care: GPs Have Got An App For That!

GPs are to “prescribe” smartphone apps to patients to help them manage their own health.

The Department of Health says the technology can put patients in charge of their medical records, and help them manage chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.

More than 500 apps were nominated as part of a competition run by the NHS.

The most useful and popular have now been included on a shortlist that doctors will be encouraged to recommend to patients.

One app, called  Patients Know Best , allows individuals to take control of their medical records and make video calls to doctors.

It was created by Mohammad al Ubaydli, who has a rare genetic disorder that leaves him vulnerable to infections.

He told Sky News: “It is a one-in-a-million condition and there are lots of doctors involved in my care.

“I had to keep updating them on my treatment, so I thought I should take control of my records and then share them as needed.”

A third of medical records contain errors. Most are trivial, but some, such as drug allergies, are serious.

“The best person to spot mistakes is the patient,” he said.

The most popular app was  Moodscope , which helps people monitor their state of mind and alerts friends, family or health workers if they are feeling low.

The Diabetes App reminds people when to check blood sugar levels and take medication.

It also records and tracks readings, which can be sent electronically to their clinic for monitoring.

And  allows people with food allergies and intolerances to avoid certain ingredients by zapping barcodes on supermarket shelves.

Martha Lane Fox, UK digital champion and dotcom entrepreneur, helped to judge the apps.

She said: “We live in a world where digital technology is an essential part of people's lives – whether it's at work or simply getting around town.

“I want to encourage more people to develop their digital skills, and that's why it's been great to be a part of this initiative.

“Using apps that locate local health services or apps that help you to get fit can dramatically improve your daily life.”

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “Innovation and technology can revolutionise the health service.

“We are looking at how the NHS can use these apps for the benefit of patients, including how GPs could offer them for free.”

Source: skynews

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