30/11/11

Enter our medical app competition!

Take a look at KD ideas for a new medical app, send in your own and win a prize!

NHS app

A few months back, Health secretary Andrew Lansley announced the competition, “Maps and apps”. The aim: to crowdsource the best smartphone apps for use by doctors and patients which, as Lansley explained,"…will put [patients] in control of their health and help [them] make informed choices about their healthcare”. Lansley described it as “a unique opportunity for the NHS and those who develop apps to not only showcase their work but bring to life new ideas and realise true innovation in healthcare”.

Being in the business of innovation & design, we at KD know how good design can make all the difference to user experiences and quality of life. Kinneir Dufort has built extensive experience in the global medical sector with an enviable track record of award winning design and innovation underpinned by ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 accreditation.  Our work to date has addressed many diverse areas in the healthcare sector.

And so, the minds at KD gathered and brainstormed a barrel load of ideas. Here are some of our best ones…

 NHS waiting time app (Merle Hall)

An app allowing you to connect to the A&E waiting room check-in service. The user would be shown the nearest hospitals and the app would select the best hospital for the patient to visit by simultaneously calculating the shortest waiting times and distance for the patient.

On a similar thread, in a bid to improve patient service, the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust runs A&E webcams at Lincoln County Hospital, Pilgrim Hospital, Boston and Grantham and District Hospital, as well making available the waiting times at the walk in centre in Lincoln. The A&E cameras, which take a blurred image at source to protect patient confidentiality, offer real-time images of A&E departments and predicted waiting times. This means that some of the 75% of patients who attend A&E with minor ailments and injuries can make an informed choice about where to attend and when – including whether they could visit their GP.

This app could bring such a service to users on their smartphones, thereby improving patient service, choice and hopefully bringing down waiting times.

 Blood donation totalizer (Phil Jenkins)

96% of us rely on 4% to give blood.

According to the NHS, in 2009 2.1 million blood donations were collected from 1.6 million donors in England. Although the numbers seem high, this only represents 4% of the population. Therefore, the need for blood donations remains high. Around 8,000 blood transfusions are carried out every day in England. As blood can only be stored safely for a fairly short time (red blood cells can only be stored for 35 days and platelets - the part of the blood that helps prevent excessive bleeding - only five days), blood stocks in hospitals need to be continuously refreshed.

Blood donations are an essential part of the healthcare system

This app would show users when nearby blood donation events are taking place using their location and save them automatically into their calendar. Pop up reminders would inform the user when they were next due to donate blood again. 

Currently every donor who gives a significant number of donations, such as 25, 50 or 100, receives a special award to mark each key milestone. With this app, ‘credits’ could be given, every time you donate blood. These credits would be displayed to the user on the app using various metrics - for example the number of lives saved or equivalent cows! Those with rare blood types could be given credits worth twice the amount of common blood types to encourage blood donations from these groups, which are seriously lacking in comparison to more common blood types.

 Dementia – memory bank (Dave Brown) 

 

There are currently about 750,000 people in the UK with a form of dementia.

An app that replaces/aids human memory and helps provide support, care, a better quality of life and increased independence for those suffering from memory loss. A sort of personal facebook that exists only for the user, their friends, family and carers. The user could save pictures to the app to evoke nice memories or take photos of loved ones that the app would automatically recognise by using a face-tagging system. It would also alert the user to their own personal, specific to do list e.g. must brush/have brushed teeth.

 The NHS suggests the following for helping people live with dementia, elements of which could be incorporated in to the app:

 

• keep a diary and write down things you want to remember

• pin a weekly timetable to the wall:  

• put your keys in an obvious place such as a large bowl in the hall: key location reminders

• have a daily newspaper delivered to remind you of the date and day: calendar pop up reminders

• place helpful telephone numbers by the phone: special contact list

• write reminders to yourself, e.g. put a note on the front door to take your keys

• programme people’s names and numbers into your phone: with photos/face-tagging

• put labels on cupboards or drawers

 

Asthma management (Ian Binder)

There is currently an asthma management app on the market which allows the user to record their attacks, chart them and send to a physician. The difference with this app is that the smartphone would actually record the data itself rather than a user having to input the information from a separate device. This would be achieved by the user attaching a device (to be designed) that connects to your phone, into which the user blows - like a Peak flow meter - to monitor how well the lungs are functioning. The user would blow into the device and the results would be recorded and analysed in the app.

If you think you’ve got a gem of an idea, drop us an email at angharad.barnes@kinneirdufort.com. The best idea we receive will win a prize!

Have a look at the NHS winning entries here: http://mapsandapps.dh.gov.uk/