3 health apps to reduce patients’ visits to doctor

By TNT Bureau

Feb 15, 2017: Healthcare apps are becoming popular and people find them easy and beneficial. Two new medical apps will soon roll out that will help people to monitor their health at home, and reduce their need to visit a doctor.

The apps are currently being trialled in four hospitals in Oxfordshire, UK. These apps transmit patient data from a tablet or smartphone directly to clinicians. These apps will really have a huge impact on the management of chronic diseases, say experts.

GDm-health

GDm-health is a system that helps to manage the treatment of gestational diabetes—a condition that affects about 1 in 10 pregnant women. This smartphone app helps women to send blood glucose readings they take at home to their diabetes clinician.

Lionel Tarassenko of the Oxford University Institute of Biomedical Engineering led the development of this technology. A two-year trial at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust found that the system aims to help patients and reduce their visits to the clinic by 25%.

App for COPD patients

Another system has been developed for managing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a condition that affects between 1 million and 1.5 million people in the UK. The system has been rolled out by Drayson Technologies, and developed by the Oxford University Insittute of Biomedical Engineering.

Patients with COPD use a finger probe to measure their heart rate and blood oxygen saturation every day and enter the results into an app. After three months of measurements, the app learns to recognise a patient’s specific range of normal oxygen saturation levels, and send an alert to clinicians when the measurement falls below that range. In a 12-month trial, the app reduced hospital admissions by 17% and GP visits by 40%.

SEND app

A third product—SEND—is also ready for rollout. It is an iPad app used by nurses to input details about patients’ vital signs as they make their rounds of the wards. It automatically calculates an early warning score based on the vital signs, giving an indication if the patient is deteriorating.

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