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25.07.18

Matt Hancock: NHS needs to use more apps, will tighten up user security

The new health secretary has led calls for the NHS to use more mobile applications when giving care.

Speaking to BBC Newsbeat, Matt Hancock said the use of apps can be “more convenient” for patients and clinicians, so the lives of doctors and nurses are made easier.

The health secretary placed daily technology used by millions of Brits such as Amazon’s Alexa as one of his three main priorities when he entered the role two weeks ago. He said the use of technology is an advance the NHS “must harness,” a mantra he has taken forward from his six-month stint as digital secretary.

He said: “One of the things I’ve done in is make sure the government is tech-savvy and digital. There’s loads of that to do in the NHS, both so that the NHS is more convenient for you as a patient, but also to help clinicians so that doctors and nurses lives are easier using the same sort of technology that you and I use all the time and applying that to the NHS.”

Hancock, who has designed his own app to broadcast his activities in parliament and in his own constituency, told the Health Select Committee yesterday that NHS England is reviewing the rules and regulations on future technologies that harness and use patient data.

Discussing whether patients using the recently-announced GP app aimed at improving access to GP records, appointments and prescriptions, committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston raised concerns regarding whether the app could be missing symptoms such as meningitis and a heart attack.

Hancock said: “I spoke to Simon Stevens about this only this morning — he is reviewing this exact question; the thing about new technology is that sometimes the rules need to be updated to take into account the changes in technology.”

He added: “Where it is found that there is a gap in the regulatory model, risk-based ‘fixes’ are being evaluated — such scenarios include where diagnostic support software misses symptoms.”

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