Our latest mobile health and apps round-up features a new self-help tool for people with lower back pain, and a collaboration between Kings College London and UK charity Autistica. Meanwhile, health secretary Matt Hancock has given his blessing to more use of apps within the NHS.

Hancock urges NHS to get app-happy

Health secretary Matt Hancock has called for more use of apps within the NHS, saying they present “a real opportunity” to both patients and healthcare teams.

Speaking to BBC Newsbeat, Hancock suggested that more needed to be done to improve the adoption of digital in the healthcare sector, particularly regarding the use of apps.

“One of the things I’ve done in different parts of government is make sure that the government is more tech-savvy and digital,” said Hancock.

“There’s loads to do in that area in the NHS – both so that you as a patient can use technology so that the NHS is more convenient for you, but also to help clinicians so that doctors’ and nurses’ lives are easier.”

King’s College London teams with Autistica to tackle anxiety

King’s College London has teamed up with UK charity Autistica to design an app to help autistic people with anxiety.

Launched on 10 July, the Molehill Mountain app is based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) approaches adapted for people with autism.

The technology encourages users to track their worries and how they’re feeling through a quick daily check-in.

The user is prompted to open the app to play Molehill Mountain, an activity designed to identify and capture worries.

Completing the activity unlocks a daily tip about anxiety and autism, with users also asked questions about their day.

Jon Spiers, chief executive at Autistica, explained: “Too often autistic people receive inappropriate anxiety support and sometimes they’re unable to access any support at all. We wanted to offer something practical that can be used whenever and wherever it’s needed.

“Many autistic people have a real affinity with tech and our autistic testers and developers told us that personalisation was important, so an app seemed like the perfect solution.”

Kaia brings LBP management to UK smartphones

An new app that claims to be capable of reducing lower back pain by as much as 40% has launched in the UK.

The Kaia app offers more than 120 guided physiotherapy exercises to help people suffering from lower back pain.  It also offers educational and psychological strategies – including mindfulness and muscle relaxation – to help users self-manage their condition.

Each session lasts for 15 minutes, using motion tracking technology to ensure that exercises are being performed correctly. Exercise programmes can be tailored for each individual, while a chat function connects users to a physiotherapist or sport scientist for motivation and exercise-related questions.

The app has been developed by Kaia Health in conjunction with physiotherapists, pain management physicians, orthopaedic surgeons and clinical psychologists. Its developers believe the system could save the economy “billions each year” by reducing the millions of work days lost annually as a result of back, neck and muscle problems.

Konstantin Mehl, founder and CEO Kaia Health, said: “By digitising therapy we’re democratising access to effective treatment of LBP. This empowers and motivates individuals to take control, and self-manage their condition with evidenced-based, non-pharmacological, cost-effective alternatives that could save the UK economy billions each year.

“The Kaia app, and advances in technology, demonstrate why we need to rethink how we treat diseases, and make digital self-management a more realistic part of treatment.”

Rheumatology patients get connected in Torbay

An app that connects patients with inflammatory conditions to information about their condition, medication and treatment options as been launched in Torbay.

Rheumatology Connect was commissioned by Dr Kirsten Mackay, a rheumatology consultant at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, as part of a partnership with Health & Care Videos, which developed the app.

Patients with inflammatory conditions like arthritis, gout and ankylosing spondylitis can use the app to discover information about their condition, medication and treatment options within South Devon.

Health & Care Videos created the app using information from clinicians, nationally recognised sources (e.g. ARUK and NRAS) and a focus group of current rheumatology patients in South Devon.

Medical Defence Union launches their own app

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) has launched their own app for members.

The app allows individuals to access expert medico-legal advice 24/7  and enables them to customise their news feeds so that they receive content which is of interest and relevance to them. They can also access an FAQ database and explore MDU case studies, guides and articles, including the MDU Journal.

Caroline Fryar, head of advisory services at the MDU said: “We are delighted to offer our members guidance, advice and professional development through an app.

“As doctors have ever-increasing workloads and busy lives, it was important for us to create a tool which would be a convenient and useful way for our members to access practical advice and support whilst on-the-go.”

The app is available for members to download on their iPhone, iPad, Android phone and Android tablet via the Apple and Google app stores.

British Tech Start-Up Spoon Guru partners with AXA PPP Healthcare

British tech start-up Spoon Guru has partnered with AXA PPP Healthcare.

The healthy eating diet and nutrition app will be introduced to AXA’s corporate employee wellness market, giving them access to information and guidance based on their food choices and wellbeing goals.

A premium version of the Spoon Guru service will also be available at no additional cost, to employees of companies that have an AXA PPP healthcare Proactive Health Wellbeing Programme.

Chris Tomkins, head of proactive health for AXA PPP healthcare, said: “AXA PPP healthcare’s Proactive Health team is excited to be working with Spoon Guru to meet the nutrition needs of our customers and further personalise their health and wellbeing journey.

“Their smart technology will allow our customers to scan food on the go using their phone and, because they can personalise their dietary profile, Spoon Guru can support further with relevant recipes, ingredient lists and helpful dos and don’ts.”