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Downloads of NHS Direct mobile app hit the million mark

One million patients have used the health information mobile application in its iPhone or Android versions

NHS Direct mobile health app

An NHS mobile app that provides patients with health advice has been used by more than one million patients in its first six months.

The NHS Direct app was released in May for Android or iPhone smartphones and quickly proved popular with the public, topping the iTunes chart of free apps in its first week.

NHS Direct's chief operating officer Ronnette Lucraft said: “This is a significant milestone for NHS Direct and highlights the popularity of accessing healthcare remotely. More people now access NHS Direct's services online than they do over the phone and it is our aim to continue to provide our services in places that patients and the public will find useful and convenient.

“The mobile app is a more discreet and less embarrassing way of seeking health advice for sensitive issues in public or crowded places. We know that people also value the ability to request a call-back from a nurse if it is required, which is why the app is fully integrated with our phone service.”

NHS Direct started life in 1998 as a nurse-staffed, 24-hour a day telephone helpline and has since broadened its reach online. The service's telephone component is due to be replaced in 2013 by a freephone NHS 111 number.

The free NHS Direct app offers self-care advice or advice on the most appropriate course of action and includes access to 40 health and symptom checkers covering a wide range of problems including diarrhoea and vomiting, abdominal pain and rashes.

Patients can also get advice about how to relieve symptoms associated with specific conditions such as flu and hay fever, along with an opportunity to get more specialist advice on issues like mental health, contraception, sexual health matters and pregnancy problems.

It constitutes the NHS' most successful push into the mobile health space, following smaller scale successes with a Drinks Tracker app, to record units of alcohol consumed, a Quit Smoking app and an app for measuring your BMI (body mass index).

21st November 2011

From: Marketing

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