Health and social media: ‘APPY’ days are here again….

PatientView has followed up last year’s excellent debut directory of health apps across the EU with a new website.

myhealthapps.net aims to provide the same information as the directory but in a smart online version: http://myhealthapps.net/search/results/health-research/name/z-a/all/all

I have done a little bit of road-testing (on my mobile phone no less) and it’s pretty impressive what it turns up. There is a good search engine and you can also segment these according to your preferences. I like the ‘hearts’ icons versus the usual ‘likes.’ Backing for the website comes from the EU Commission and a number of pharma companies.

It is interesting that very few health research apps are figuring. So I encourage makers to submit their app to PatientView for the next edition of the directory which is being worked on. But there are quite a few apps that appear which I know have sons form of research element to them.

In putting together a new oversight board for the UK Clinical Trials Gateway (UKCTG) I have been thinking quite a lot about this area.

I suspect that – a little like the dot.com revolution – we are seeing many flowers bloom. Few will flourish. Some are clearly over-priced and over-promissory in their pitch. Those that are co-produced with patients will have the best chance of success I suspect.

Consumers will also vote with their fingertips I am sure. A few months ago – after several years of acquiring more apps than I care to admit – I got rid of all except those that are regularly useful to me. I got eight pages of apps down to two and feel a lot better to be out of the ‘app storm.’

UKCTG and digital media is one of five pillars that make up the strategy I have been pulling together as National Director to encourage patient participation and engagement.

Culturally it feels beyond the ability of a Government to turn provider in the market. However, the opportunity is there to be an enabler. That can happen in many ways. It can back new ideas and give then the opportunity of scale. It can correct market failures in provision. But the most obvious is as provider of a rich and comprehensive open source of high quality data on which others can feed. A ‘public service’ social media-caster perhaps?

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