Patient apps help tackle obesity

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Medical software firm Emis has high hopes for its new patient apps that help the public tackle health issues such as diabetes, obesity, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, migraine and sleep problems.

The Leeds-based group is at the forefront of the drive to tackle preventative medical problems and encourage people to live a healthier lifestyle.

The group’s website patient.co.uk is attracting 14 million unique visitors a month and 28 million page views, up from 11 million unique visitors and 21 million page views in 2013.

The apps are an extension of this service to encourage patients to play a key part in their own care through access to clinically reviewed health information.

Emis chief executive Chris Spencer said the service is different to NHS Choices in that it interacts with patients.

“NHS Choices is great, but patient.co.uk is consumer facing. It’s all well and good to say that if you eat too much, you’ll put on weight but that doesn’t change people’s behaviour.

“Patient.co.uk is much more of a social media tool. It’s a more collaborative exercise.

“Say you have weight problems, you’ll be treated as part of a self-help group and you go on to forums with people with similar issues. We’ll send you targeted information that helps you.”

The group is constantly looking for new areas to reach out to patients. It recently launched an app to help people find a toilet.

“This is particularly useful for people who have a condition that means they have to go to the toilet quickly,” said Mr Spencer.

He was speaking as Emis, which supplies clinical software to GP practices and pharmacies, announced a strong performance in the first half of 2014 with a 41 per cent rise in revenue to £66.4m.

Mr Spencer said the roll out of Emis Web GP should be completed early next year. It is now in place in 84 per cent of Emis’ GP estate, which accounts for 3,751 GP practices in England and Wales.

Analyst Chris Glasper at N&1 Singer said: “With the EMIS Web roll out on track and the GPSoC issue now largely resolved, attention will be focussed on growth opportunities, with a buoyant pipeline reported in Child, Community and Mental Health and in integrated care, joining up GP records with hospitals and other healthcare providers.

“Conversion of these opportunities could lead to upgrades in due course. EMIS is still trading on a more than 10 per cent discount to its peers, which looks anomalous and we retain our “buy” recommendation and target price of 830p.”

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