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Five apps that pave the way for DIY healthcare

Smartphone and web apps are making healthcare cheaper and more effective - reducing visits to the doctors and providing patients with diagnoses and medical advice in their own home.

Apps designed to support healthcare are on the rise. More than one third of physicians questioned by IT industry association CompTIA last year said that they used telemedicine technology for patient consultations, while almost 40 per cent used medical apps on their smartphones every day.  

This week the UK health secretary Andrew Lansley told TechRepublic that doctors will increasingly “prescribe” telemedicine web and mobile apps to patients during consultations.

”The beauty of this technology is that it's tremendously empowering,” he said.

”We have had information prescriptions in the NHS in the past, but they have tended to be text and paper-based. Ideally in due course we will arrive at a place where patients own their own records, where they have access to a whole ecology of apps and information, and with the help of their clinicians can navigate to what works for them.”

To discover the online apps that patients find most useful the Department of Health asked the public to nominate their favourite health apps. Here are some of the most popular apps from that contest, which are changing the way healthcare is being delivered.

Image: OSirix/iTunes

By Nick Heath

Nick Heath is a computer science student and was formerly a journalist at TechRepublic and ZDNet.