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NHS to prescribe government approved health and fitness apps to patients

The UK government is to coral a new generation of health and fitness apps together under the NHS banner, with the aim of encouraging GP’s to prescribe them to patients seeking to improve their health.

The strategy would see approved smartphone apps given an NHS kitemark to encourage take-up, offering an ever expanding range of services from diet and exercise tracking, fitness coaching and even monitoring blood sugar levels.

To be rolled out as part of NHS England’s Health and Care 2020 programme the initiative will permit approved developers the opportunity to make use of the NHS logo.

Tim Kelsey, national director of NHS England, said: “We want to provide GPs, citizens [and] carers with some level of reassurance… that the NHS has taken a view of a particular digital tool or service and is able to endorse it.

“We are going to introduce a kitemarking scheme, which we think will really help developers to take advantage of the trust that people have in the NHS [and] in return [they will] voluntarily submit to a degree of assurance, not an endlessly bureaucratic process, but just something that will give people confidence.”

At present the health service already employs a range of apps to streamline the provision of services; including immunisation records, GP appointments and carer home visits. A free app to help people quit smoking is also offered.

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