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Nursing Standard - Smart Use of Mobiles

Nursing Standard - Smart Use of Mobiles

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Published by Sarah Amani
Nursing Standard Article - Sarah Amani on the smart use of mobile in healthcare.
Nursing Standard Article - Sarah Amani on the smart use of mobile in healthcare.

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Published by: Sarah Amani on Jun 14, 2013
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01/21/2014

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16
may 8 :: vol 27 no 36 :: 2013
NURSING STANDARD
A library of NHS-approved mobile phone appshas been launched in response to concernsabout the variable quality of health apps. Thisarticle describes the latest apps to be includedin the library and reveals how nurse SarahAmani helped to develop an app for mentalhealth service users.
Authr
Jennifer Trueland is a freelance journalist
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Nurses can now recommend health appsto patients or, like Sarah Amani, createtheir own. Jennier Trueland reports
A smartus rmils
Mental health nurse SarahAmani could not help but noticehow attached her young clientswere to their mobile phones.
‘You would see them sittingin the waiting room texting andlooking things up, but when theycame through to see us they hadto put their phones away. It waslike they had to switch o a parto themselves.’Ms Amani, who is nowteam manager or the earlyintervention in psychosis teamat North East Hampshire andSurrey Heath and youth mentalhealth network lead or NHSSouth o England (East),thought that the importanceo mobiles to young peopleshould be harnessed.
Hl r srvic usrs
Soon, she was discussing withcolleagues an idea or a mobilephone app (application sotware)that would help service usersthrough their treatment.That was in 2011, and theMy Journey app is fnallyavailable to download romthe Google Play store ordevices using the Androidoperating system.Conceived by Ms Amaniand her then colleagues atSurrey and Borders PartnershipNHS Foundation Trust, withinvaluable input rom serviceusers, the app allows peopleto track their mood, set goalsand monitor their progress.It also enables them to accessinormation about services andget advice on who to contact i they need help. In addition, it hasa medication tracker and oerstips on useul topics, such asexercise and diet.‘It does not replace nursesor other clinicians,’ explainsMs Amani. ‘But it is like havinga coach in your pocket – itcomplements what we do.’Smartphone owners alreadyuse apps every day or emailing,networking, banking andplaying games while on themove.
 
The use o apps topromote health, however,is on the increase – and thechoice is vast. App developers,sometimes in conjunction withclinicians, have been coming upwith all kinds o health-relatedapps, rom weight and exercisetrackers to heart rate monitors.According to Trendwatching.com, a company that tracksconsumer trends, 2013 will bethe year when people turn to themedical proession to ‘curate’the thousands o health appsnow appearing in app stores andapprove or ‘certiy’ those thatare benefcial.In March, the NHSCommissioning Board (nowNHS England) launched theNHS Health Apps Library, acollection o apps that have beenreviewed by the NHS to ensurethey are clinically sae. So ar,around 70 apps have receivedNHS endorsement, and more –including My Journey – arebeing assessed.
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NURSING STANDARD
may 8 :: vol 27 no 36 :: 2013
17
 
Speaking at the apps librarylaunch, where he introduced tennewly approved apps (see panelon page 18), NHS England’snational director or patientsand inormation Tim Kelseysaid the NHS was committedto improving outcomes byusing technology.‘People now use phone appsin almost all walks o lie, andhealth is no dierent,’ he said.‘There are about 13,000 appsthat proess to give medicaladvice. The library is a wayo oering an NHS stamp o approval to apps so users knowwhich ones are sae.’But should nurses beencouraging their patients touse apps? And should they belooking to their own mobilephones to assist their practice?The RCN’s guidance onmobile phone use notes the
rise o smartphone apps inhealth and social care andwarns o the ‘variation inquality o inormation’ incommercially available sotware.It also highlights the risk o downloading viruses that caninect other systems.However, the RCN’se-health adviser, Alison Wallis,acknowledges that mobiletechnology has the potentialto make valuable inormationavailable at the point o care:‘There are plenty o reliable andtrustworthy sources out there,such as the National Instituteor Health and Care Excellence,’she says. ‘But the quality o inormation in apps is veryvariable. Nurses need to be surethat apps are sae, as well asuseul, rather than just jumpingon the bandwagon because thisis something new.’Nursing undergraduates aretaught about using technologyto enhance practice, she pointsout, adding that the RCN hastraining resources available tomembers who want to sharpentheir skills in this area.Smartphones have become soubiquitous it is easy to orget thatnot everyone has one – and thepeople who are yet to buy oneare not just missing out on thechance to play Angry Birds, theyare missing out on apps designedto improve their health and easeaccess to services.
‘NURSeS NeeD To beSURe THAT AppS AReSAfe RATHeR THAN jUST jUMpING oNTHe bANDwAGoN’
Sarah Amani(front) and herMy Journey appwith colleagues at Aldershot Centrefor Health
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p16-18w36v2.indd 1703/05/2013 12:30

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