April 16, 2016

...AND CHEAPER...:

Will mobile health apps make GPs redundant? (Kim Thomas, 16 April 2016, The Guardian)

Your.MD is one of a staggering 165,000 health apps available through our mobile phones, though most offer simpler advice on diet and fitness. GP and Guardian columnist Ann Robinson says fitness apps "provide useful nudges to behaviour". But, she adds: "We still haven't developed an app that gets the person who's completely allergic to doing any form of exercise off the couch in the first place."

The more useful apps, Robinson believes, are the ones that monitor complex conditions such as diabetes or the heart condition atrial fibrillation. In a trial at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, for example, patients are monitoring their oxygen levels and blood pressure and sending in results by mobile phone, where their heart specialist can see it. Apps such as these are not going to replace doctors, says Robinson, but "they will augment the diagnostic process and allow us to capture relatively rare events which have medical significance".

But some apps hold out the promise of bypassing the NHS altogether. Like Your.MD, Babylon Health is planning to launch an AI diagnostic app. Founder Ali Parsa says AI "can play a crucial role in assisting with simpler queries to give doctors more time to focus on more complex conditions and patients who need a greater level of care".

The key to health care reform is reducing access.
Posted by at April 16, 2016 9:16 AM

  

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