After a six-billion dollar investment in system-wide digitalization and a major announcement of their plans in June, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) launched a new medical app that empowers users to pay more attention to their health while avoiding unnecessary visits to the doctors with remote patient monitoring called My InHealthcare. The NHS has dabbled with apps in the past, most notably the ill-fated Health Apps Library, an medical app curation platform which kept suggesting inaccurate and non-secure apps. That venture folded last year.
This time, the NHS is going a different route. Instead of giving recommendations on third-party apps, they’ve developed a user-friendly, wide-ranging platform to help patients manage chronic disease. Patients will send easy to determine data, like blood pressure, glucose levels, INR levels, and heart rate to their doctors who can diagnose and give a course of action to the patient. Calendars, reminders and a diary help people track their treatment and take medication.
An example of how the InHealthcare app works is with INR self testing. A patient’s readings are sent to the My Inhealthcare app and their next warfarin dose is calculated with decision support software. Patients are then sent the dose and time when they should take their next warfarin dose. This information is then uploaded into a patients medical record for physicians to review later. If there are concerning INR findings that are outside the allowed range, clinicians are automatically notified of this. The NHS also makes a staggering statement: “70 percent of patients improved their time in therapeutic range by 20% compared to in-clinic monitoring” — meaning not only are they avoiding clinic visits, but they are actually seeing better outcomes with remote management.
Self-monitoring technology is becoming a popular way for medical professionals to obtain patient data in a timely, consistent manner. Speed, accuracy and efficiency are important in a health care system that provides service to one million people every 36 hours. Imagine if that number of face-to-face patient-doctor visits is cut by only a tenth. The NHS’s app could free up valuable time for doctors and save the NHS millions of dollars.
Currently, the program is in select areas of the UK and can only be downloaded in the Google Store, but next month it will be available in the App Store.
For more information on how to download the app: My inHealthcare