Patients to be prescribed smartphone health apps by GPs
Patients could soon be prescribed with free smatphone apps which help to manage health conditions by their doctor or GP.
The proposal is part of a new initiative launched by the Department of Health (DoH) in the UK which is aiming to make patients less reliant on doctors.
A nationwide search was launched last summer asking members of the public to share their comments on the best existing health apps and ideas for new apps.
An event is now being held to showcase the mobile phone apps that were shortlisted; approximately 500 in total.
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Some the most popular patient suggestions for new apps were ones that help manage, monitor and control long term conditions such as blood pressure and diabetes.
An app to help patients deal with post traumatic stress was also a frequent suggestion, as was one that helped patients find their nearest NHS facility on a map.
One that gave people practical information about healthy eating and keeping fit was also very sought after.
An existing app that made the shortlist and was heavily recommended by patients was one called ‘Patients Know Best.’
This service enables patients to access their medical records and control who else can access them too.
It also gives patients the opportunity to have an online consultation with their doctor or clinician to create a personalised and tailored care plan and receive automated explanations of test results.
Patients Know Best has already been successful in a number of hospitals, including Great Ormond Street, and with community nurses and health teams.
“So many people use apps every day to keep up with their friends, with the news, find out when the next bus will turn up or which train to catch,” commented Andrew Lansley, the UK Health Secretary.
“I want to make using apps to track blood pressure, to find the nearest source of support when you need it and to get practical help in staying healthy the norm.
“Information about your health is a service – just like the GP surgeries, Walk-in Centres and hospitals that millions of people access every week,” he said.
“With more information at their fingertips, patients can truly be in the driving seat.
“Innovation and technology can revolutionise the health service, and we are looking at how the NHS can use these apps for the benefit of patients, including how GPs could offer them for free.”
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NeuTigers: edge AI in healthcare
What is edge AI?
Edge AI is essentially a combination of edge computing and artificial intelligence. Algorithms are processed locally - directly on a mobile device or server - rather than in the cloud. This reduces cost, computing power and energy requirements. There are also claims that edge AI is so fast it is possible to reach near real-time analytics.
Edge AI devices include smart speakers, smart phones, laptops, robots, self-driven cars, drones, and surveillance cameras that use video analytics.
Who is NeuTigers?
NeuTigers is a spin-off company from Princeton University, formed in 2018 to apply edge AI and machine learning to solve challenges in healthcare, energy, productivity, and security.
With offices in Princeton, NJ, the company is based at one of the top AI accelerator programs of FutureLabs in New York, and has also established a subsidiary in Nice, France.
How is NeuTigers applying edge AI to healthcare?
The NeuTigers AI Technology Stack uses deep neural networks that mimic how the human brain perceives and interprets the world. The company has developed the StarDeepTM Smart Health Platform for health monitoring and biomedical imaging, to improve the accuracy and speed of diagnosing diseases.
NeuTigers say the platform has the potential to monitor and screen for thousands of conditions, when used in combination with medical devices and smart sensors already deployed in healthcare settings.
Are there any real world examples?
In January NeuTigers launched CovidDeep, a tool that predicts COVID-19 with more than 90% accuracy, using physiological data from a wristband along with blood pressure and blood oxygen readings. It then analyses the data and gives a prediction within two minutes.
This week NeuTigers announced a new study to detect the early signs of complications with sickle cell anaemia. Conducted at a hospital in Paris, the research will begin by looking at changes to skin response, heart beat, sleep and temperature to predict an acute episode of sickle cell anaemia, and how this impacts on the patients’ disease conditions and quality of life.
The second phase of the project is to expand with prospective studies across different sites in EU, Africa and the US to explore the models' accuracy and clinical effectiveness.
Adel Laoui, CEO and founder of NeuTigers, says: “The best way to deal with a crisis is to avoid it happening in the first place. We are now entering a new era where medical early warning systems have become a reality.
“We are excited at the possibility of deploying a technology that can save lives of patients dealing with sickle cell anaemia. The potential of the StarDeep platform to dramatically improve patient outcomes while slashing some of the highest costs of healthcare makes it one of the most exciting developments in preventative personal medicine.”