doctor with phoneDoctors in the U.K. will soon begin prescribing their patients with smartphone applications along with their drugs that will allow them to monitor and manage their health conditions. The Department of Health is hoping the move will put patients “in the driving seat,” with more information at their fingertips.

The apps are expected to cover a variety of conditions and could make it easier than ever for patients to control their health. For example, apps could be prescribed to diabetics to help them keep an eye on their blood sugar, and could even be used to monitor blood pressure.

Details on how the initiative will work will be included in the government’s Information Strategy, which will be available this spring.

One app, called Patients Know Best, is already being trialled by GPs and district nurses in Britain. It allows patients to view all of their health records and control who has access to them, receive automated explanations for test results, and work with their clinicians to personalize their care plan. The most impressive feature, however, allows patients to partake in online consultation with their clinicians.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley believes smartphone apps can revolutionize the U.K.’s health system:

 “So many people use apps every day to keep up with their friends, with the news, find out when the next bus will turn up or which train to catch.

“I want to make using apps to track blood pressure, to find the nearest source of support when you need it and to get practical help in staying healthy the norm.

“Innovation and technology can revolutionise the health service, and we are looking at how the NHS can use these apps for the benefit of patients, including how GPs could offer them for free.”

I’m looking forward to the day when I can FaceTime my doctor to ease my hypochondria.

Would you like to use smartphone apps to keep on top of your health conditions?

[via BBC]