Scottish health app is a surprise success

/ 5 years ago

A new app for smartphones and tablets designed by the Scottish NHS has become one of the most popular medical apps available to download and it is free.

The app itself is designed to just outline the kind of care patients should expected when they are suffering from a particular medical condition. The SIGN (Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network) app was the idea of Prof John Kinsella who works in Glasgow’s Royal Infirmary in intensive care. Prof Kinsella realised he needed a quicker and more efficient way of accessing the latest NHS guidelines.

“The problem is that clinical guidance is sometimes in a paper form which is difficult to find, or it can be accessed on the internet which means logging in and often you’ve got to log out of some other programme first,” he said.

“In that period you are losing valuable time when you should be doing some other task. It is basically a delay, and sometimes a delay prevents you from doing it at all.”

As mobile phones ‘no longer interfere’ with medical equipment, doctors and other medical staff are free to use smartphones and tablets while working on the ward. This app is also now available for Android and although not advertised has been downloaded 8,000 times since its launch in April.

This app is clearly quite useful for the patients as well who can do background research without trolling through hundreds of websites and becoming ill-informed.

“The real advantage is that these guidelines are easy to access by members of the public,” said Prof Kinsella.

“It is entirely logical that if you have a certain condition, it is very useful for you to be able to look up what care you should expect to receive.

“This empowers patients and makes the discussion between the doctor and patient much more well informed.”

The integration of the tablet computers into our everyday life is becoming quite profound. What will be next?

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