The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is launching a free app to help people better understand its research into the effects of social media on health.
It is the latest in a series of apps launched by the NHS to try to improve its understanding of how people use social media.
The new app will be launched on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST), with the NHS Health app available for download at all GP surgeries, private health insurance and NHS Direct websites.
The NHS Health team say the app is intended to be used by patients and staff to understand the health implications of various social media content.
“We know that people use different social media sites for different purposes, and our new app is designed to provide people with a greater understanding of what the health and wellbeing impacts of social and non-medical media may be,” the Health and Social Care Information Centre’s chief information officer, Paul Fyfe, told Business Insider.
In the past, the NHS has used the free mobile app MassMedia Project, which is available for both Android and iOS, to get its data into the hands of users.
While the app has been used by some patients, it has been criticised for not providing enough detail about how the apps data was collected, or whether it was anonymised.
The app also offers no information about the health claims made by the user.
However, the Health Information Technology Programme (HITP), the organisation that oversees the app, has said it wants the app to provide a better picture of what is being said about people’s use of the apps.
“[The app] is an important tool to help us understand how people communicate on social media, but we also want it to be transparent,” HITP’s director of communications, Sarah Brown, told the BBC.
She added that the app had a “broad appeal” to people from all social media platforms.
HITPS is now offering the app for free to all NHS Direct and private health insurers who want to download it.
This will allow them to see the data they have been using from MassMediaProject for free.
The HITP app is available on the NHS Connect app store and the app’s official Facebook page.
Users can opt out of accessing the data.