Inhealthcare has announced a major breakthrough in programming technology that will allow doctors to build and launch their own health apps.
The company has invented an easy-to-use toolkit that provides a simple set of building blocks for the rapid development and deployment of services for the NHS.
The powerful toolkit offers secure multi-channel connections between patients and central databases such as the NHS Spine and GP systems via Inhealthcare’s national digital healthcare platform.
It is the latest innovation from the stable of businesses owned by Peter Wilkinson, the Yorkshire entrepreneur responsible for a series of advances in consumer technology including the pioneering internet companies Planet Online, Sports Internet and Freeserve.
Mr Wilkinson said:
This invention has the potential to transform the way that the NHS deals with long-term conditions and gives doctors the power to quickly and easily take control of their growing workloads.
“If the Government is serious about delivering a modern healthcare system it should embrace this opportunity and deploy the system throughout the NHS and unleash rapid improvements in patient wellbeing and staff productivity.”
The new technology enables people with ideas for apps or service improvements to develop, test, roll out, monitor and manage their own healthcare services and predict demand and outcomes.
These services can empower patients to take greater control over their own health. They can also reduce pressure on public spending from ageing populations with long-term conditions.
The toolkit offers multiple communication channels to patients, including mobile apps, web portals and automated telephone calls. Data from patients is transferred safely and securely into hospital and GP systems.
Bryn Sage, chief executive at Inhealthcare, said:
We believe this is a world first in healthcare technology.
“There is no shortage of innovation in healthcare. But taking an innovation from idea through to delivery is lengthy and expensive.
“Developing healthcare software for healthcare has unique challenges. Safety and security requirements around healthcare means that there is significant spend and red tape before you’ve even got your idea off the ground.
“Now imagine that someone else has already done all that expensive infrastructure and all you had to do was work out what your idea needed to do.
“We have created the world’s first programming language specifically for digital care, and it’s so simple to use that new digital health ideas and apps can be created and deployed in hours.”
One example is the annual flu vaccination programme. Inhealthcare’s toolkit empowered clinicians in the North East of England to develop a digital service that targets people at risk, contacts them at home, books them into a flu clinic, and then tracks each patient to ensure they were successfully vaccinated. Clinicians used the toolkit to develop an app for the vaccination team to help run their clinics. The end-to-end design process was complete within a day at a fraction of the cost of traditional software development methods.
Mr Sage added: “Care is traditionally the domain of clinicians and technology the domain of engineers. Until now there has been no overlap. Our programming language will allow the two domains to merge and meet in the middle.
“We want to encourage and enable collaboration between IT professionals and clinicians in healthcare organisations because we believe it will lead to great innovation for the benefit of patients and the public purse.
“A healthcare app can cost tens of thousands of pounds and many months to develop and has no guarantee of success. Our toolkit can create a secure app in hours at a fraction of the cost with invaluable input from clinicians.”