Health Care 3.0

Health Care Trends With a Social Media Twist

Shouldn’t there be an app for that?

Healthcare professionals this week have been asked to submit ideas for new health apps and online maps by the Department of Health, as part of a six week campaign in a bid to change the way patients can access information, and to give us all greater control over our own health. People can submit ideas, post a comment, or vote for ideas others have submitted via a central website. At the end of the campaign, the ideas will be judged by a panel with the best examples being showcased at an event during the autumn. 


At the last count this campaign has generated 163 ideas. Some of the most popular ideas submitted so far include: an app which allows patients and clinicians to see evidence-based pathways for a wide variety of conditions; a system that allows patients to book appointments and view their medical records online; and an immunisation schedule for your child, based on their date of birth.


To date, for me, the number of truly useful health and so called ‘doctor apps’ out of the many that have flooded the market in recent years are few and far between.  While no-one doubts that an app should never replace face-to-face time with your GP, or any other healthcare professional, if done well, this could be an innovative opportunity for the NHS to embrace a new way of improving patient outcomes.


Disappointingly, a spokesperson for the DH has said they would not be announcing any funding for the development of the best health apps, but instead it will rely on developers and the technology industry to develop the best ideas.  To me, this sounds like yet another listening exercise from the DH. What remains to be seen, is whether anything comes of this exercise and the best ideas. 

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