HealthTech platform ORCHA has found that a mere 15 per cent of healthcare apps meet its minimum safety standards.

Liverpool-based ORCHA is a health app evaluation and advisor organisation and has a stringent review process for the many health-related apps which are available to download.

ORCHA, which appeared on LCR Activate's LCR Tech Climbers list for 2019, looks at 260 factors covering performance and compliance, including clinical effectiveness, user experience, and data security, to give them a score.

The score can then be used by governments and health and social care organisations to choose and deliver health apps that safely make the biggest impact in terms of improving clinical outcomes.

Its evaluation of over 5,000 health apps has revealed that a significant number do not meet the minimum safety requirements.

Notably, 75 per cent of apps aimed at people with blood pressure concerns and 85 per cent of femtech and pregnancy apps do not meet ORCHA’s quality threshold.

“We believe that digital health apps are one of the most important tools available to help tackle health issues in an aging population that’s facing more complex, long-term problems,” said CEO Liz Ashall-Payne.

“Our goal is to support the organisations that look after us to empower them with information about which apps can create a difference.

”The fact that only 15 per cent of apps that we review meet the minimum standards show there is a desperate need to regularly and properly assess the apps available to ensure that people are protected against the serious risks associated with downloading ineffective or even harmful apps.”

ORCHA, which was founded in 2015 and is based in Sci-Tech Daresbury, is one of the Liverpool City Region’s fastest-growing tech businesses, providing services for health organisations in five countries.

Facilitated by the Local Growth Hub, it has recently grown from seven employees to more than 30 and has newly opened offices in both London and Utrecht, Holland.

The Local Growth Hub and Health Innovation Exchange have assisted ORCHA in implementing a sustainability and transformation plan with Cheshire and Merseyside hospitals.

Janice Mears, head of business growth at Growth Platform’s Local Growth Hub, said: “ORCHA is a prime example of what the growing and innovative businesses in the Liverpool City Region can achieve with the right support.

“We’re very proud to have contributed to ORCHA’s growth and success through the new markets programme and to have supported them in their mission of making the digital health apps market a safer place.”