The app that calls your GP

AMY GLENDIN­NING on the new tech that could save the NHS mil­lions

Manchester Evening News - - DISGITAL/LIFE -

YOU’VE been to the doc­tors, got your pre­scrip­tion – and logged on to the app store?

A Sal­ford firm has helped de­sign one of the first ‘pre­scribed apps’ – which pro­vides pa­tients’ data straight to their doc­tor.

User Ex­pe­ri­ence (UX) agency Keep It Us­able worked on the Clin­touch app, now be­ing used within the NHS.

The app asks men­tal health pa­tients to record their mood – and if it records a pat­tern or con­sis­tent low mood, their doc­tor is au­to­mat­i­cally alerted.

It also al­lows doc­tors to see pos­si­ble pat­terns in mood change and pos­si­ble trig­gers.

Users can also per­son­alise the app with pic­tures of their choice, along with mo­ti­va­tional quotes and mes­sages.

The app has been cre­ated, de­signed and tested by Keep It Us­able along with bod­ies in­clud­ing Manch­ester Univer­sity and the NHS and is now be­ing tri­alled by Manch­ester Men­tal Health and So­cial Care Trust.

Ernie Croft, nurse and team leader at the Trust’s South Mersey Com­mu­nity Men­tal Health Team said: “The real ben­e­fit of this tech­nol­ogy is how prac­ti­cal it is.

“We of­ten work with pa­tients who have dif­fi­cul­ties with mem­ory due to their ill­ness, so this app can help us work with the client to look back over the week to see how their symp­toms and mood have been.

“We can then work with the pa­tient to re­fine their cop­ing strate­gies by see­ing when there was a par­tic­u­lar trig­ger that caused them to re­lapse.”

Clin­touch is one of the first apps be­ing ‘pre­scribed’ by doc­tors to their pa­tients – but other pos­si­ble uses for apps record­ing long term symp­toms, feel­ings or be­hav­iours are huge.

Com­pul­sive eaters or those with other ad­dic­tions could use an app to record mood and ac­tions to show a link be­tween cer­tain emo­tions and neg­a­tive be­hav­iour.

Other apps could re­quire a user’s re­sponse, for ex­am­ple that they have taken their med­i­ca­tion, alert­ing a carer or doc­tor if con­fir­ma­tion is not re­ceived.

De­spite the ini­tial out­lay of de­sign­ing and test­ing an app, Keep It Us­able say they be­lieve they could ul­ti­mately save the NHS mil­lions by trig­ger­ing ear­lier in­ter­ven­tion be­fore some­one be­comes se­ri­ously ill.

Lisa Dud­ding­ton, co-founder and head of re­search at Keep It Us­able, said: “One of the rea­sons these apps work is be­cause they give feed­back to the end user.

“This can tell you when or why you’re feel­ing that way and what trig­gers are caus­ing those emo­tions, and en­ables you to gain con­trol of the sit­u­a­tion.

“We car­ried out in­de­pen­dent re­search on apps con­nect­ing di­rectly with your doc­tor and peo­ple were re­ally open to it.

“Any­thing that helps peo­ple help them­selves and help their doc­tors know what’s go­ing on was seen as re­ally pos­i­tive.”

The Clin­touch app lets men­tal health pa­tients record mood and feel­ings

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