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Docs and devs: Health secretary wants healthcare apps

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Health secretary Andrew Lansley has launched a call for new ideas for health apps to help patients make informed decisions about their care.

The invitation is open to healthcare professionals and app developers. Lansley cited an existing example of what could be done, the Choosing Well app developed by NHS Yorkshire and Humber which enables people to search for their nearest NHS services.

The Department of Health said any ideas, which can also extend to online maps, should relate to one of five themes: personalisation and choice of care and support; better health and care outcomes; autonomy and accountability; improving public health; and improving long term care and support.

A spokeswoman for the department said: "We will not be announcing any funding for the development of the best health apps. We want to promote the best apps that people tell us work for them, and envisage that app developers and the technology industry want to develop the best ideas."

Lansley also asked people to name their favourite existing health applications. Ideas can be submitted at www.mapsandapps.dh.gov.uk.

"We want to give people better access to information that will put them in control of their health and help make informed choices about their healthcare," Lansley said.

"Over the next six weeks, we want to hear from patients, health professionals and budding app developers on their ideal new app. This is a unique opportunity for the NHS and those who develop apps to not only showcase their work but bring to life new ideas and realise true innovation in healthcare."

The ideas will be judged by a panel including Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS medical director, Dr Shibal Roy, investigator at the National Institute for Health Research; Jennie Ritchie-Campbell, director of cancer services innovation at Macmillan Cancer Support; and Julie Meyer, a judge on TV programme Dragon's Den. They will chose a group of apps to be showcased at an event during the autumn.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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