A system has been developed to review health-related apps.

These days there is an app for every condition, ailment or aspect of health – and more are being launched every day.

How can patients be sure they are using the ones that will offer the most benefit?

The problem is being tackled by the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Applications.

ORCHA was founded by Liverpool-based Liz Ashall Payne in 2015 and also enables medics to feel confident in prescribing apps.

“One of the problems is that there are 165,000 healthcare apps so, as a consumer, how do you know whether they are safe or valid?” she asks.

The platform involves an intricate system of checking through apps on a weekly basis, with an automated process and manual checklist weeding out those that would be less useful.

ORCHA

The remaining ones are curated and, following a 120-question review that adheres to ISO standards, scores are awarded for value and risk.

“People have been discussing these problems for a long time,” Ashall Payne says.

“Patients and clinicians want to feel empowered to use apps to manage health and this is a solution.”

 

Apps are presenting exciting opportunities for both users and an increasingly stretched NHS: self-care through the Internet of Things could save the Health Service billions over the coming years , particularly in the monitoring of long-term chronic conditions.

According to Ashall Payne, a study last year indicated that 71 per cent of Britons – some 45.5 million - own a smartphone.

Of those, 75 per cent would use it to search for health information online while more than 90 per cent would use mobile-health services to engage with healthcare professionals, in the event that these services were available. 

There are many other ways that tech is changing the face of healthcare.

NHS England has launched a £100million prize fund to back NHS trusts that want to become centres of global digital excellence.

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