A new app that provides care advice for heart and cancer patients is being trialled at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

Ortus-iHealth helps patients and their clinicians connect through virtual appointments by computer or mobile phone, rather than requiring them to travel in for a face-to-face consultation.

It aims to make it easier for patients to take control of their health while reducing NHS costs and the number of appointments that go unattended.

Two pilots are underway simultaneously at London’s St Bartholomew’s Hospital – one with cancer patients, and the other with patients who have undergone treatment to control or correct abnormal heart rhythms.

The app is only used in situations deemed appropriate by clinicians, meaning in some instances a face-to-face meeting will still be necessary.

Dr Debashish Das, creator of Ortus-iHealth and registrar at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, which is part of Barts Health NHS Trust, said: “I created the app to modernise the way we communicate with our patients, as well as empower patients to take control of their health and consultations. The portal is very user friendly and simple to use, which we hope will encourage more clinicians and patients to adopt this way of working in the future.”

The new health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, recently called for more use of apps within the NHS, saying they present “a real opportunity” to both patients and healthcare teams.