Doctors to direct patients to smartphone apps

GPs will be soon prescribing applications that allow patients to self-monitor their health.

GPs will be soon prescribing applications that allow patients to self-monitor their health.

Doctors will soon be sending patients onto smartphone apps in a move to have patients more effectively monitor and manage their health, the Department of Health announced today.

The DH received nearly 500 responses to its call for ideas, with app topics ranging from finding NHS services to monitoring blood pressure and diabetes to dealing with post-traumatic stress to eating well and keeping fit.

At an event showcasing smartphone health apps, health secretary Andrew Lansley said:

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.

The "Patient Knows Best" app allows patients to compile all records and control access. A diabetes app helps patients track blood sugar information, which can in turn be sent to clinics.

Last month, 14.5 million people sought information on NHS Choices, and the DH is hoping smartphone apps will be the next step in providing information to patients.

Health apps have been used at Great Ormand Street, UCL and Torbay hospitals.