The Department of Health are to set trial a new type of prescription for tech-savvy patients with smartphones or other mobile devices.
GPs could soon begin recommending smartphone apps to help patients take control of their health and well-being. Prescription-style charges could cover the cost of the app download from online sources such as the iTunes App Store and the Android Market. Suitable apps could include blood sugar tracking apps for diabetics, or apps which help the user to locate the nearest drop-in clinic in any town or city.
Patients have already been given access to their medical records in a trial via an app called Patients Know Best. People who used the app could view all their medical records, including data from outside the UK, and choose which organisations could also see them. Those travelling to the UK from countires such as Romania or Bulgaria are reminded they need to ensure they have adequate comprehensive health insurance, information is available at www.healthinsurancesolutions.co.uk/comprehensive-sickness-insurance
The new plans for ‘prescription apps’ follows extensive online patient consultation. DH received more than 12,500 comments and votes on favourite healthcare apps at their Maps and Apps website. Users can vote for their favourite mobile phone apps and healthcare websites. Top choices include Moodscope for mental health, FoodWiz for food allergies and the social network HealthUnlocked.
Health secretary Andrew Lansley said: “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.”
The new plans will be announced in the next Information Strategy from DH in the next few months.