Former health minister Professor Lord Ara Darzi has launched an iPhone app that allows users to rate services and create a basic medical record that they can share with health professionals.
The Wellnote app developed by Imperial College also allows them to rate healthcare services and to find out information about their nearest medical services. The information is sourced from the NHS Choices and is updated daily.
Professor Darzi said: “Wellnote will empower the public by giving them the tools they need to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing.
“We want the public to use the application in a similar way to how they use online hotel and restaurant rating sites.”
The team at Imperial say the app is not a commercial venture and will not carry advertising.
The free app also allows the user to rate the service anonymously and the scores, along with the official ratings from the Care Quality Commission, are then made available for other users to see and compare.
Users can use the app to enter sensitive medical information including allergies, recent diagnoses, operations, vaccinations and family history in order to create a mobile personal health record.
A user can then email medical information to a person of the patient’s choice including their GP or shown to a clinician in the event of an emergency. Although sensitive information is not password secured.
Dominic King, clinical research fellow in the department of surgery who helped to develop the app, told E-Health Insider: “We’ve had lengthy conversations about the security settings and want clinicians to be able to access the information in an emergency but we don’t want others to come across the information if the phone is lost of stolen.
“We eventually decide it would be up to the individual to secure their phone, however there is advice on the website that advises users to password protect it.”
In addition to the medical records and ratings service, Wellnote also allows users to choose from a list of more than 2,000 medications and sets up alerts to remind them when to make specific tablets as well as add appointment directly into their iPhone calendar.
King added that they will release another version in the coming weeks which will take user feedback on board, address some of the bugs and password protect the app.
According to King, Professor Lord Ara Darzi has been heavily involved with the development of the app.
“Lord Darzi found that there are very few products like this that are innovative, informative and user friendly.
"So among other things he helped to decide what features to include, for example research shows that found 50% of people take their medicines incorrectly, so he decided what medicines we should incorporate and highlighted the need for a medications alert.
"Not only is the Darzi brand on there for quality assurance he has actually played an active role.”
However, King says that the app, which has been in development for six months is not a commercial venture.
“It’s completely free of charge and not for profit, we received funding from imperial but there is no advertising and no revenue associated with it.”
Imperial will now work to develop the app to providing greater integration particularly between the appointments and the calendar as well as allowing hardware to be used alongside the iPhone such as devices to monitor blood pressure.