In May 2010, NHS Bristol launched the country's first official NHS service finder app. The app formed part of our 2009 - 2010 Choosewell campaign and was , and indeed still is, targeted toward our 15-30 population (predominantly students) and those new to the city.
The NHS Bristol app was the first of its kind in the UK, providing health information and advice at the click of a button on the iPhone. Launched in May 2010, it quickly established itself as a success, with over 10,000 downloads to date.
The technology now provides the 'back-end' for the Yorkshire and Humber app. NHS Bristol, in the spirit of the NHS, have made the technology of our app open to all NHS organisations, allowing any developer or PCT usage of the technology. This allowed Yorkshire and Humber to use our innovation quickly, cheaply and rely on tested technology.
The development of the app was time consuming, exciting and nervous, but with a clear focus in mind - the creation of an on-line repository for service information and a clear understanding of our demographic - we crafted something that has received plaudits around the country, and outside of it too.
The drive to create something new, to use new technology or to reinvent something for a new medium is always there, particularly for communications teams or departments. In our case, what we focussed on was restraining our creative impulses to provide something that was fit for the user rather than an indulgence for the team or the organisation. The success of these is borne out by our positive reviews, the number of downloads and anecdotal feedback we have collected over the 18 months the app has been 'live'.
My concern is that, due to the nature of PCTs and our sometimes arbitrary boundaries, we run the risk of duplication of effort and of resources, when by sharing, we can all experience the benefits of mobile technology at a fraction of the cost.
I'm happy to discuss the development of the app and the new technological innovations pioneered in Bristol with a view to sharing these, and their benefits, with all trusts.
Personally it's a testament to the NHS and our somewhat embattled position that such innovation isn't just being allowed, it's being encouraged.
Check out our app by downloading it at iTunes (search for NHS Bristol)
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org