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Wednesday 19th June 2019

Need a check up? There's an app for that

22nd February 2012

The Department of Health is rolling out a scheme that will encourage patients to use mobile phone apps to monitor their health rather than visiting their GP or hospital.

using mobile phones

People with conditions such as cancer, diabetes, lung or heart problems, and women who are pregnant, will be asked to take daily measurements and text the results to a central computer system where they will be analysed.

Within minutes, they will be sent a reply advising them on what treatment to take, though for abnormal results the patient will be urged to telephone their doctor or nurse immediately.

While the Department of Health see such an initiative as saving money and cutting down on visits to hospital or family doctors, health professionals and campaign groups say patients - particularly those who are elderly - should not be forced to use such technology.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients’ Association said: “These apps will help provide patients with more information and give them greater control over their own care.

“But they will not be right for everyone, particularly elderly patients who may struggle with the technology. Other systems and sources of information must also be in place to help those patients who are not able to use the technology.”

Such apps have already been used in some areas of the NHS, and the scheme has the backing of health secretary Andrew Lansley.

However, Department of Health IT specialists Phil O’Connell, who developed some of the apps, said that they were not meant to replace clinical judgement.


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