There are so many different mobile health apps and tools on the market at the moment that it’s hard to tell which are useful, which can be trusted and which are good value for money. There’s been talk for some time in both the US and the UK that there should soon be some kind of certification programme or rating scheme to give people more advice about which apps to download, and this week it seems the NHS has taken a huge step forward in the mobile health sector and will be giving patients more guidance in 2012. According to The Telegraph, the UK’s Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, is currently drawing up a list of around 500 apps that doctors will begin to recommend to patients in order to give them more freedom, more knowledge about their health and ultimately cut costs.
There are already a range of apps created by the NHS, like its Healthy Weight Tracker, NHS Direct and NHS Quit Smoking, but The Telegraph outlines some of the other top mobile apps that are likely to make an appearance on the list, like one that allows people to identify which foods they’ll be allergic to, one that reminds those suffering with diabetes when they should check their blood sugar levels and take medication, and another to track and monitor blood pressure. Patients now Best, an app which is already encouraged by some hospitals and surgeries, is also likely to be recommended to more patients, as it allows them to view their medical records and keep important information in the palm of their hand.
The push towards mobile health solutions will obviously help the NHS reduce costs and waiting times, but it does have multiple benefits for patients too, giving them more knowledge, freedom and peace of mind. They’re particularly beneficial for those who find it hard to visit surgeries and hospitals too, whether they live in a remote location or have a hard time travelling.
The Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, told The Telegraph:
“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.
“With more information at their fingertips, patients can truly be in the driving seat.”
It’s great to see the Health Secretary and the NHS understanding the huge potential that mobile health apps have to offer, and with this kind of guidance and system in place patients are hopefully going to be able to find the perfect app to suit their needs.