Digital Health’s latest mobile apps round-up features news that Patient Access has passed 10 million UK users and Pando Health has been added to the NHS Apps library.

Patient Access passes 10 million UK users

Ten million NHS patients are now registered on the Patient Access app, powered by EMIS, following a spike in users due to coronavirus.

Registrations to the app, which offers clinically-authored health information and GP services including video appointments, escalated rapidly in March and April with 650,000 new sign-ups.

It’s coronavirus symptom checker, added in mid-March, has seen more than 700,000 views.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, clinical director at Patient, said: “It’s clear from these statistics that the pandemic has rapidly changed attitudes to digital healthcare – quite possibly for good.

“Without the usual access to their GP, people have realised that digital alternatives are quick and easy to use – and can give them immediate help and reassurance in these very worrying times.

“GPs and the wider health service are also seeing the benefit, as non-urgent demand reduces and clinicians’ time is freed up to focus on those who most need their help.

“Importantly, our information can also help encourage people who do have a symptom of concern to seek medical help in a timely manner.”

The Society of Occupational Medicine launces new ORCHA app library to protect workers

Health professionals who are members of the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM)are set to have access to a free app library to help them find apps to better manage their health and the health of employees they support.

It includes apps that help improve fitness and prevent ill health and apps that can make a real difference to those who live with long term conditions, including anxiety, backpain or asthma.

The app finding library has been developed by ORCHA, the health app evaluation organisation.  It contains a comprehensive list of several thousand health-related apps – all of which can be searched by condition, intended use, and patient type.

In addition, all apps in the library have been objectively reviewed and rated, so members can make the best recommendations for their patients.

Christine Poulter, SOM’s strategic clinical adviser, said: “We have purposefully included all apps reviewed by ORCHA so our members can search for the most relevant app to their client’s situation.

“Filters can be used to select conditions, cost, target age and other categories. We hope that giving members access to the app library will allow our members to recommend apps with confidence to their patients, and we will be evaluating the use of the library and will reach out to users in the coming few weeks to begin that process.”

Pando Health added to NHS Apps Library

Clinical messaging app Pando Health has been officially added to the NHS Apps Library.

The app is free for all NHS staff and allows them to communicate within and between wards, as well as connecting primary, community and secondary care teams.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 the app has seen a 700% increase in engagement, as NHS teams moved rapidly to ensure they could communicate quickly and effectively during the crisis.

Dr Barney Gilbert, co-founder and co-CEO at Pando Health, said: “As a company, Pando has placed data protection and security at the heart of everything we do since day one.

“We are proud to deliver a tool that is not only safe to use but equips our 45,000 users with features that have been specifically designed for health and social care settings.

“We are beyond delighted to join the NHS App Library. Pando is now the most widely used clinical messaging system in the NHS and we feel privileged to be able to support our healthcare workers at this critical time for our health service.”

Cognitant Group lunches app to tackle health misinformation

Cognitant Group have launched the Healthinote app, a free to use app for patients to access credible health information.

Using immersive content such as virtual reality (VR), it helps patients better understand their conditions and treatment options.

It features more than 1,100 health ‘A-Z’ articles from the official website. Content is also delivered in partnership with pharma, charitable organisations and leading universities including Bayer, Pfizer, UCB, NHS England, NHS Improvement and The Health Foundation.

Dr Tim Ringrose, chief executive, said: “More then ever, it’s vital for everyone to have access to trustworthy, up-to-date and verified health and medical information.

“We built Healthinote to improve the way patients receive their health information and to combat misinformation found online, in the media and friends and family. Thanks to our key partners, the content and programmes offered on the platform will help us all to receive information we can rely on to protect and manage our health.”

Gamification app teaches correct inhaler technique

A newly validated app called Rafi-Tone, developed by UK clinicians, makes using an inhaler with a spacer easier and more fun for young children with wheeze or asthma symptoms.

The app is designed for young users, enabling parents to overcome the distress often associated with treatment and allowing them to log and monitor use. Rafi Robot, the star of the app, helps to engage the child whilst promoting effective inhaler technique through a series of fun games.

It was designed by a university academic to help his son, Rafi, by using specially designed games and cartoons.

Respiratory infections, often leading to symptoms requiring inhaler treatment, are one of the most common childhood diseases in the world and are the leading cause of death in children.

Asthma UK advises parents that using the correct inhaler and spacer technique reduces their child’s risk of asthma symptoms and potentially life-threatening asthma attacks, but correct inhaler use can be difficult, particularly with younger children and often results in distress for both the parent and child.

In studies, 51% of children reported becoming upset when using their standard spacer, but this reduced to only 22% by switching to the Rafi-tone system, according to the company.