UK-based health information app producer, Expert Self Care, has launched the Coronavirus Support App which will enable people to access trusted health information and practical advice on a range of topics.
WHAT IT DOES
The app will help with general challenges brought on by the coronavirus crisis and will assess COVID-19 symptoms, discover how to stay well and what to do next.
Accessible offline, the app will help people avoid misinformation by giving access to trusted health and wellbeing information and answers to health questions.
It will also find useful links to official NHS advice, current government guidance and helplines and charities.
Helping users also to manage in a crisis, the app will provide information on where to seek help if you’re experiencing domestic abuse or are in a crisis situation.
For ‘at risk groups’, the app will have tips for how to stay safe if you have diabetes, are pregnant or have reduced immunity.
WHY IT MATTERS
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges, particularly for ‘at-risk’ groups because of long-term health issues, mental health problems or financial struggles.
Finding reliable advice and knowing where to get help can be difficult and is especially critical during the pandemic when an excessive amount of information and misinformation has been seen.
The World Health Organisation has described it as an ‘infodemic’, stating that it has created “an overabundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it”.
THE LARGER TREND
The problem of misinformation has been a frequent dilemma during the pandemic, with big tech companies such as Facebook, pledging to curb the spread of misinformation about the coronavirus earlier this year. The social media network sent warnings to users who encountered COVID-19 misinformation.
Other health information apps have followed suit on tackling the problem of misinformation. In May, Cognitant Group launched Healthinote, an app that aims to reduce the impact of fake news on patients and healthcare services.
In March, the UK government set up a unit to tackle disinformation linked to coronavirus, working with social media giants to curb the spread of misleading information.
In more recent news, a business chief has been brought in to review the NHS IT landscape which has been described as ‘turbulent’ and ‘clumsy’ by senior sources. Laura Wade-Gery will join NHS Digital as chair in September and will lead a review on NHSX, NHS Digital and NHS England’s digital transformation improvement strategy.