20 Nov Recommending an app to a patient
Before I recommend an app to a patient I want to know three things:
Is it going to be suitable for them to use?
Will it improve their health outcomes?
Will it be safe?
On the surface these questions seem relatively straightforward. However finding answers I can trust, in the short window of time I have to spend with my patient, is anything but straightforward.
For GPs like myself, who see inherent value in mobile applications, this problem is all too familiar. Clinicians don’t have the time to research health apps and therefore, don’t recommend them to patients.
This sets our practice out of touch with how most patients choose to live their lives.
My patients use mobile devices to keep abreast of current affairs, to check the latest weather updates, to stay connected with friends and families. Some of them are also using health apps and fit bits to track and monitor their health.
Equally, there are pockets of our health system where we can find really innovative practice. Some UK hospitals are developing mobile apps to help patients manage serious medical conditions and feed information back to their doctors between visits, often in real time. Health and care related apps are being used to help with everything from recovering from surgery and managing pain, right through to reminding people to take their meds.
Unfortunately though, the GP practice is taking last place in the digital revolution race.
It doesn’t need to be that way.
There is now a way for busy GPs likes myself to take a look at the 165,000 health and care apps on the market and quickly distinguish between the good, the bad and the useless.
ORCHA, the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Applications has developed a safe, simple and highly effective way to validate health apps and provide a convenient rating scale to guide clinicians and the general public.
ORCHA also empowers health and care professionals to identify, engage with and actively promote apps that will have a positive impact on their patients and service users health and wellbeing outcomes.
If we as GPs are to empower patients to take ownership, be proactive about their health and access health care appropriately; then using technology, where we are assured of it’s value and safety is an important part of this commitment. Great apps can help clinicians to engage with patients dynamically, deliver better care and help preserve our limited NHS resources.
ORCHA Medical Lead