Increasing numbers of parents using Musgrove’s mobile app for common childhood health concerns - 06 July 2016

Increasing numbers of parents using Musgrove’s mobile app for common childhood health concerns - 06 July 2016

Growing numbers of parents in the south west are now using an innovative NHS mobile app created by consultants at Musgrove Park Hospital to get the latest advice and information about common childhood health concerns.

A total of 2,500 parents across the south west used the HANDi paediatric app in June 2016.

The app was developed by paediatric consultants at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton to empower parents to provide information about common childhood illnesses in an easily accessible form. Parents are therefore able to work in partnership with healthcare professionals to decide on the appropriate assessment and treatment for their own child.

It gives parents access to home care plans, as well as GP and hospital clinical guidelines. It also ensures families are fully informed with information about when and how to ask for help, along with what to expect when their child is being assessed.

After being launched by Musgrove, the app has recently been rolled out across some NHS hospitals in neighbouring Bristol and Devon.

Dr Amy Whiting and Dr Sarah Bridges, consultant paediatricians at Musgrove Park Hospital who developed the app, said they were pleased that more people were using it.

“The increasing number of people using the app reflects the positive feedback we’ve had from both parents and healthcare professionals, who found it very helpful,” they said.

“We know it can be a difficult decision for parents whether or not to take their children to A&E, and unfortunately they often end up there as they aren’t sure what else to do.

“We hope the HANDi paediatric app gives them more confidence in dealing with the more minor conditions themselves at home.”

There is also a section on the app for doctors and other healthcare professionals to use. This has been accessed over 1,200 times in June 2016.

It means there is a single care pathway from home, through community health care and into hospital that can be clearly seen by everyone involved in the ‘system’.

Claire Perry, a housekeeper at Musgrove’s neonatal unit, used the app when her son was unwell.

“My son didn’t look right and was having difficulty breathing so I checked out his symptoms on the HANDi Paediatric app,” she said.

“The advice I had from the app was to take my son to Musgrove’s emergency department, where he was admitted for observation and then discharged later that evening.

“I found the app very straightforward to use and it reassured me that I was doing the right thing.”

The most common childhood illnesses are covered in the app:

  • Diarrhoea and vomiting
  • ‘Chesty baby’ illnesses, such as bronchiolitis, asthma and croup
  • ‘Chesty child’ illnesses, such as wheezing and asthma
  • High temperature
  • Abdominal pain
  • Common newborn problems

The app takes parents through a series of questions about the symptoms their child is experiencing and then advises on the best course of action, whether that’s to treat at home, make a GP appointment, go to a minor injuries unit, or head to A&E.

The HANDi paediatric app is available to download for free onto any Apple or Android smartphone or tablet by searching for ‘HANDi Paediatric’ in your mobile app store.