Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new smartphone app that can keep track of the sleep pattern of children with sleeping problems.
The Kids Sleep Dr app was designed by clinicians and academics at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, part of Guy's and St Thomas', in collaboration with technology company RMA Consulting. It allows parents to fill in a sleep diary for their child by using a ‘finger-painting’ technique.
It is intended to support parents of children from newborn babies to the age of 16 who have problems sleeping – rather than those who have more serious sleep disorders.
Parents in this situation usually use a paper-based diary that has to be completed daily and reviewed every week. The Kids Sleep Dr streamlines this process and also allows parents to email summary reports directly to their healthcare professional.
Paul Gringras, professor of children’s sleep and neurodisability at Evelina London, said the app was developed based on feedback from hundreds of parents.
“With the exception of some of the more serious sleep disorders, many childhood sleep problems can be solved by parents once they have the confidence and knowledge to understand what is happening and how best to help,” added Gringras.
The app is currently only available on iOS devices but an Android version is in the pipeline. The ultimate aim of the app is to reduce the need for parents to visit the GP or hospital with their child and manage the problem themselves.
Peter Lelliott, managing director of RMA Consulting, said he was “very enthusiastic” about the app’s potential.
“Working closely with the Evelina London team, we created an app that’s not only engaging and delightful for people to use, but also highly effective.”
The Kids Sleep Dr app is the latest example of trusts working with developers to create healthcare apps for specific problems.
It follows the news last month that King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust had worked with Ampersand Mobile to develop an app to support outpatients living with chronic arthritis.
There are wider plans to support the integration of apps into mainstream healthcare use. NHS England has launched a library of recommended apps on NHS Choices, while plans to ‘kitemark’ apps endorsed by the NHS are part of the 'Personalised Health and Care 2020' framework issued by the National Information Board.
Several apps developed in partnership between trusts and developers also received NHS funding as part of the recent NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes.