Manchester Evening News
The app that calls your GP
AMY GLENDINNING on the new tech that could save the NHS millions
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.”