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One in five GPs report increased patient use of apps

One in five GPs have seen an increasing number of patients attending appointments with health data they’ve generated through apps and smart devices, a study has found.

The survey of 300 GPs, ahead of the Astellas Innovation Debate 2015, highlighted almost nine out of ten GPs (88%) fear the abundance of health information and devices will drive an increase in ‘worried well’ wanting appointments.

Three quarters of GPs warned they’d already seen an increase in patients self-diagnosing, but 80% said data collected by patients was unlikely to be clinically useful unless it was from a ‘validated and reliable’ source.

Professor Lionel Tarassenko, who is head of engineering at the University of Oxford and a speaker at this week’s debate, said of the findings: ‘Our phones, no matter how smart, are never going to replace our doctors.’

‘These survey findings confirm that we’re always going to need someone who can help make sense of what we’ve read on the internet, or of what our health apps are telling us.’

‘The ready availability of health data is a positive, but it also carries implications – including workload implications – for doctors, and for health services.’

Last year NHS England announced GPs would be able to prescribe apps that had received NHS approval under a new scheme it was developing with NICE.

The innovation debate will take place on Thursday, and will be webcast live.