NHS Direct launches mobile apps

NHS Direct has launched an application enabling people to access its health advice via their mobile.

The 24 hour helpline service has developed an application for Android smartphones and says that an application for the iPhone is likely to be released next month.

The smartphone version can be downloaded from the Android Marketplace or from the Android app store on the phone, for free.

Once downloaded, people can access 37 NHS Direct health and symptom checkers, which cover everything from dental pain, diarrhoea and vomiting to rashes, back pain and burns.

Patients can also access specific advice on flu and hay fever and request more specialist advice on mental health issues, contraception and sexual health.

There is an option for patients to save the advice, or email it to themselves. And the app is linked to the NHS Direct telephone service, so users can submit their contact details and get a follow up phone call from a nurse advisor if one is needed.

NHS Direct associate director of multichannel, Roger Donald, said the application was developed to address demands from the growing number of patients who prefer to access health advice online.

“Our online health and symptom checkers are extremely popular and we hope that by making them mobile we will benefit more people and continue to contribute to helping take pressure off other local NHS services.”

The Android and iPhone apps have been built by Mobikats, which won a contract for the work from Transform Innovation, which advises NHS Direct on mobile strategy.

Philippe Homsy, one of Mobikat’s directors, said it had worked on keeping the app design simple, while building in the functionality demanded.

“Users were likely to be stressed when they used it, so we needed to ensure they could access the right information in the shortest time,” he said.

Developing digital services is a focus of NHS Direct’s five year business plan. The initial symptom checker that it runs on its website to help patients decide whether they need to call its other services can also be accessed on web-enabled phones, by typing mobile.nhsdirect.nhs.uk into a phone browser.

EHI Awards 2011 in association with BT: NHS Direct won the ‘best use of ICT in patient and citizen involvement’ award in the E-Health Insider Awards in association with BT in 2009.

The closing date for this year’s awards is just over a week away. Send in your entry by 3 June for a chance to be at the black tie dinner in London in October.

The EHI Awards 2011 in association with BT seek out and reward outstanding work within the UK healthcare IT sector. Entries are open now on the dedicated awards website, and will close on 3 June at 4pm.

This year’s awards will be presented on Thursday, 6 October at the Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden, London. For more information or to reserve a table, please visit the awards website.

To find out more about previous winners of the awards, visit our case studies showcase.

Last updated: 26 May 2011 21:40

Shanna Crispin

27 May 2011

Nice work

WLMD256 weeks ago

All credit to NHS Direct. Haven't seen or tried it yet but this app looks like a good and worthwhile one.

I hope one day they'll get together with NHS Choices and do similar with the portfolio of free apps and videos Choices has available to organisations. Not every organisation knows they're there and are free to syndicate onto local platforms/web sites.



Would be great to see NHS Direct build on their new app and port some of the above onto phones as well.





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