Newly installed minister for health Matt Hancock has declared that the NHS needs to use more apps.
Hancock (pictured) told BBC's Newsbeat that there was "loads to do on that area" when questioned on whether the apps would help the NHS.
"The NHS needs to be more convenient for you, but also to help clinicians so that doctors' and nurses' lives are easier," the health secretary said.
"One of the things I've done in different parts of government is make sure that it's more tech savvy and digital," he added.
However, Winston Bond, senior technical director EMEA at Arxan Technologies warned that the impact of vulnerabilities on apps can be "devastating".
"NHS trusts and hospitals are autonomous, and they each have their own way of controlling devices and distributing apps," he said. "This means there is no single, convenient, centralised way that all the apps on a clinicians' mobile devices without making them available to anyone through the public app stores."
Bond added that any app that gets NHS approval is still vulnerable to attach as an unapproved app.
"As a baseline, medical device manufacturers and developers need to thoroughly test the applications to ensure they are effectively protected against cyber-attacks and exploits. Crucially, this must be done before they come onto the market," he said.
Hancock's statement was met with criticism on Twitter by both medical and technical professionals.
I've worked with the NHS and built apps for them that have delivered real benefits BUT I'd say in general their problem is sub-standard IT systems, computers and skills and lack of leadership. I suspect the great apps I built for them have fallen into neglect by now.— Phil Spilsbury (@philspil66) July 25, 2018
Dear Matt Appcock,— Rachel Clarke (@doctor_oxford) July 25, 2018
What the NHS desperately needs is basic, humdrum, fit-for-purpose IT. Computers that don't crash. Upgrades to Windows XP.
As for apps? These should be as rigorously evaluated for safety & efficacy as any other new drug or surgery 🤦♀️https://t.co/I3AoXefonK
They have their place but we also know some are flawed so it's not quantity but quality and correct context based on validated use— Derek Bell (@PresidentRCPE) July 25, 2018
Hancock was previously digital minister, before replacing Jeremy Hunt as health minister in a cabinet reshuffle earlier this month.
In his previous role, Hancock launched his own app which showed pictures and videos of his activities as a cabinet official and as MP for West Suffolk.
The Matt Hancock app was criticised by users who feared their privacy was compromised, when the app tried to access pictures on their phone.
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