The UK National Health Service encourages physicians to prescribe mobile health apps

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service, according to this Telegraph article, plans to start recommending that physicians start prescribing certain mobile health apps to their patients.  Examples include electronic reminders to check blood sugar or take a medication.  Though I’m not sure that the examples provided present the strongest use cases possible for mobile health apps, I think they’re certainly on the right track.  An app that increases the probability that someone remembers to take their medications regularly should accomplish improved healthcare outcomes and improved value.

We have to find ways of building mobile applications that patients find engaging, that they are willing to use, and that will empower them to take charge of their health.   Apps that do these things should save the system money and improve healthcare outcomes.  The NHS clearly thinks that some of these apps are ready to start serving those functions.  It will be a nice experiment to see if they’re right.

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About Aaron Neinstein, MD
I'm an Assistant Professor in Endocrinology and Director of Clinical Informatics at the University of California, San Francisco.

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