UK health service adopts startup's self-help site for patients

A new health startup encouraging patients to “self-manage” their health has been launched with the backing of the UK’s National Health Service. NHS Consultant Dawson King, the healthcare entrepreneur behind the portal, now intends to take the idea global. Think Yammer for patients.

NHS.Info is designed to allow patients, healthcare professionals and providers to exchange and use health information and encourage patient self-management. It’s the first product from new start-up company Cambridge Healthcare, which is working in partnership with the NHS and NHS IT body Connecting for Health.

Currently in beta mode, the site will “enable patients, doctors, nurses and others to exchange and use information in an unlimited number of healthcare applications”, said the company. King said the portal allows patients and others access to the information essential to construct and manage a personal healthcare plan. “At a later stage, the downloading of information to smartphones and other devices will be possible for patients as they develop knowledge and interest in their personal healthcare plan and condition,” he said.

The idea ia also to have a application store, encouraging third parties, including medical technology companies and healthcare providers, to design an unlimited range of applications, according to King.

King said discussions are underway in several countries – including Canada and China – to roll out the concept to patients through partners.

With patient self-management and patients being more proactive about their health, NHS.Info could be a way for the NHS cut its treatment costs, assuming data protection and security can be assured. It alomost goes without saying that recent hacking cases have highlighted the sensitivity around personal data.

It’s a big market. Spending on healthcare IT in the UK will hit $5.1 billion in 2016, with annual spending growth outstripping other nations. Analysts Ovum say the UK’s ageing population is driving increased investment in healthcare IT, as is the urgent need to cut costs in the sector.

Here’s how the site works: