Thursday, 22 November 2012

Five iPhone apps the NHS can learn from

Many healthcare organisations are getting on the “app-wagon” by repackaging some of their regular website material.  In most cases, the “innovative” bit is the use of the iPhone’s GPS function for maps. Is this innovation? Not for me.

I’m on the lookout for apps which redesign interaction with health services, that support patients in caring for themselves and their families – and basically, ones which have an underlying brilliant idea that can only be implemented on a smartphone. 

In the end I didn't find any apps that lit me up – though I did find some that gave me ideas for apps that could be developed.

Wounds by BSN Medical Ltd, May 2012, UK only, FREE
You use your iphone camera to take a snapshot of the wound, then use the symbols to categorise it by wound need, depth and exudate level (for the non-clinical this means how bad, deep and weepy it is).  Then the appropriate dressing is suggested – and of course, this is their own brand of dressings. I’m not into promoting one type of dressing but this app is IDEAL for the NHS. Why hasn’t anyone produced this for the reduction of pressure ulcers – linking to the NHS Supplies dressings?  What I like about this is no improvement project is required – implementing an app will redesign the process of assessing and treating wounds/ulcers in the most fundamental way.

iScrub Lite, Free, May 2010
The premise is good hygiene and this app records observations and lets you email those observations. Whilst I am sure this is for audit folk, I can imagine that in the hands of patients (maybe lend them an iPhone while they are in hospital) it would have a big impact.  This would be fabulous if it was populated with the addresses for the contacts in each healthcare organisation in the NHS.

MedCrowd, Oct 2010, Free
This is an app designed to crowdsource medical opinions. I suspect it’s not really taken off but the concept is excellent.

Patient Journal, Free, June 2010
I like this because it is a place I can keep all the notes about being in hospital. The only problem is it really needs to be managed by the carer as the patient may be too ill to use it.  I think this would be good for longer temr patients or just for patients in general to keep track of their interactions with healthcare.  It works because it provides a structure only and doesn’t try to give me advice.

Mixed Messages, Free, June 2012
This is a training app aournd doctor-patient communication. I like the concept and it makes sense for much of the training programs that go on in the NHS to be put into a format like this. It’s simple, focused and not overworked.  No more books, manuals, workshops or PowerPoints!


Rhian Last said...

These are brilliant food for thought and so very diverse. Thank you for sharing ☺ Have a look at this one too, based on asynchronous patient / clinician interaction to support self care. Webapp and iphone app. The winning factor is that this is clinically focused and patient centred:

Sarah Fraser said...

Ah, this active medicine app is great and might just be close to hitting my 'innovation' expectations! I'll test it out and report back.