Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) is concerned following reports that a mobile app called ‘GP at Hand’, used by NHS patients in London, may be missing meningitis symptoms.
Rob Dawson, Director of Support at MRF said, “These apps are intended to help patients get seen by a health professional more quickly and are being used by the NHS in London. While we recognise the need for innovation in healthcare, safety must come first and we are concerned about reports suggesting that using the app could delay a meningitis diagnosis. Rapid identification and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia provides the best chance of survival. In the early stages, the symptoms of meningitis or septicaemia often resemble a less serious viral illness. Early symptoms are usually fever, vomiting, headache and generally feeling unwell. However, if someone is unwell with bacterial meningitis or septicaemia their symptoms will become rapidly worse. If someone unwell with the disease is reassured by an app, this could potentially have disastrous consequences. We’ve contacted the health select committee who are speaking to the health minister to get an update on the problem.”
A response from the Health Minister to Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, the Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, says that the Government was reviewing regulation of apps like GP at Hand.
The app is created by a company called Babylon.