In an effort to cut down on unnecessary doctor office visits, the UK’s Department of Health plans to ask general practitioners and physicians working at hospitals across the country to encourage their patients to use mobile health apps to track biometrics and symptoms. According to various reports in local newspapers, the Department of Health claims that some 15,000 NHS patients are already using mobile health apps that transmit such information to their physicians. The apps are used by pregnant women, and people with cancer, diabetes, heart problems, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The information transmitted from patients using the apps will be monitored by healthcare providers who will urge patients to visit their doctor or nurses immediately if an abnormal reading comes in, according to a report in the DailyMail. The Department of Health hopes to save the NHS “millions of pounds” assuming the apps help cut down on unnecessary visits. Health ministers also contend that more frequent monitoring will help providers keep tabs on patients so that their condition, which will make it less likely that their condition’s will suddenly deteriorate and require a trip to the emergency room.
According to a report in the Telegraph, the health minister claim that about 25 percent of the people who use the NHS Choices website and app visit their physicians less frequently as a result. In November the NHS Direct app announced more than 1 million downloads.
“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,” the UK Department of Health’s Secretary Andrew Lansley said in a statement. “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. With more information at their fingertips, patients can truly be in the driving seat.”
Lansley assembled a list of 500 apps and tools that the NHS plans to recommend physicians prescribe to patients, but the NHS is looking to hear feedback from the UK public on which apps they think should be included. The government said the apps should be free or cheap to use, according to the Telegraph report. Keep reading>>