Information service

xDesign unveils mobile app for NHS updates

NHS information centres are handling record calls

A Scottish tech firm has developed a mobile app enabling quick and easy access to the latest advice and information about Covid-19.

The app has been produced in just five days by xDesign in partnership with NHS 24.

It is for accessing information and guidance only and is not to be confused with the separate development of an app for contact tracing or symptom tracking.

NHS 24 provides the latest information and advice, including a coronavirus symptom checker, via its health information site which has seen record numbers of people visiting its pages.

The new mobile app links directly to this website so that users get the latest information and guidance. It also means NHS 24 can alert them to the latest information and guidance from NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government, instantaneously updating from the site.

xDesign volunteered its services to help NHS 24 and has built the app in five days to help to ease the pressure on services. The app is available on iOS and Android and helps people assess their symptoms and take appropriate action depending on the severity of the symptoms they are displaying. 

Louise Bennie, head of digital at NHS 24, said: “While a primary focus with the app was around user experience, given the situation is changing on a daily basis it was absolutely crucial that we were able to pull content from our NHS Inform website through to the app in real time. 

“Looking ahead, we think there is a long-term role for the app working alongside the website as a general entry point for NHS services.”  

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xDesign managing director Ben Hutton said: “Across the team at xDesign, myself and others have partners and family who work for the NHS and we wanted to do everything we could to help the cause at such a difficult time for so many. 

“This was an opportunity to offer practical help at a time of national crisis and involved a supercharged version of our usual discovery, design and development process to get things over the line within a week.”

xDesign, which was founded in 2010 by CEO Euan Andrews, is one of Scotland’s fastest-growing digital services scale-ups and counts the Scottish Government, Heineken, PayPal, Menzies Aviation, Edinburgh Airport, Rothschild and MoneySuperMarket among its client base.  In February, the company acquired mobile app and web developer Bemo marking its first acquisition to date. 

Contact tracing app

A contact-tracing app for managing the coronavirus outbreak will be piloted on the Isle of Wight this week.

The NHS Covid-19 app is intended to supplement medical tests and contact-tracing interviews carried out by humans, in order to prevent a resurgence of Covid-19 when lockdown measures are eased.

It uses bluetooth signals to detect when two people’s smartphones are close to each other. If one person later registers themselves as being infected, an alert can be sent to others judged to be at high risk of contagion. 

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