Large Leeds rollout: is this NHS acceptance that apps can sometimes replace drugs?

A new app that can replace expensive, side effect-prone, drugs has been developed by Yorkshire tech company ADI (disclosure which manages the admin for this editor as Managing Director of DHACA, and provides one of DHACA’s three Directors), with assistance from Harrogate-based Inhealthcare.  It is set to ease the burden on the NHS, alleviating daily chronic pain, initially available for some 7,000 patients it Leeds, making it one of the largest digital health services to be commissioned in the UK.

The app, called Painsense, will be free for patients to use. It gives them the knowledge, skills and guidance to manage their pain, which should reduce the need to visit their GP or hospital. It will be rolled out across other regions of the UK within the next six months.

From the patient’s perspective it is easy to use on their smartphone or tablet device. A PainSense app user commented: “For people like me who have suffered for years, Painsense gives you strategies to follow so you can cope better with the pain.”

Dr Jamie O’Shea of Leeds West NHS CCG commented: “The Pain Toolkit app has recently been introduced in Leeds to encourage supported self-management of persistent pain. I have introduced this app to several patients who have unanimously provided extremely positive feedback and I am very confident we will see improved outcomes for this cohort of individuals.”

To this editor the key interest of this news is whether the NHS has now accepted that an app can replace drugs to deliver effective pain relief. As the recognition grows that apps can also manage anxiety & depression and other conditions, so the NHS should see substantial reductions in both drug cost and in managing the consequences of drug side-effects. Things will get even better when the NIB Workstream 1.2 app assessment methodology is deployed, generating comparable benefit figures to enable more accurate comparison with other interventions.

For more information go here or download PainSense from the iTunes App Store or Google Store. For more comment go here and here, plus the video of the Look North feature is here and the Made in Leeds video is here.

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