Pharma insight on digital marketing, social media, mobile apps, online video, websites and interactive healthcare tools
by Dominic Tyer
NHS-backed social network How Are You? has launched what it says is the UK's first health app store.
The new How Are You? app store doesn't actually sell apps, but links to sites like the Apple iTunes Store for iPhone and iPad apps or Google Play for Android apps.
How Are You? was created last year through a partnership between the NHS East of England and Cambridge Healthcare to offer patients a virtual patient record with personalised health content.
It also has encrypted social elements, described by Cambridge Healthcare as a cross between Twitter and Facebook, but at its heart is a personal health planning service.
The How Are You? health app store has a number of curated app categories, which so far include cancer, diabetes and medication reminders, but the lion's share of apps still come from the catch-all Health & Fitness or Medical categories.
No pharma mobile apps were immediately visible, though it's possible they are currently hidden in one of the larger categories.
These categories will be familiar to users of the iTunes Store or Google Play, and retain their somewhat elastic definitions, particularly when it comes to Medical, where NHS Direct rubs shoulders with Your Past Lives.
So, while it's made a reasonable start towards its claim to be “a patient-reviewed and personalised collection” of health apps, more work is needed to fill out the categories, some of which show just one app at the moment.
Nevertheless, the health app store is well designed, has good usability and, by offering a way of browsing apps in more depth than just Medical and Health & Fitness, could offer real user benefits.