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The NHS wants developers creating digital healthcare apps to submit them to the NHS Apps Library as it continues to grow.
Any app submitted by developers will have to pass a set of assessment criteria, ensuring they are safe and useful for patients.
NHS Digital recently appointed digital health app experts Our Mobile Health through the G-Cloud framework to support the NHS in assessing apps submitted to the library.
NHS Digital programme director, Hazel Jones, said that through the partnership with Our Mobile Health, the NHS is able to develop the proper assessment procedure more quickly with the aim being for patients to feel confident “that the apps they use are safe and trusted”.
“In the future we hope to invite more third-party assessors to work with us on the assessment procedure, and develop and speed up the system so that we can improve the array of apps featured on the library,” said Jones.
“This is an exciting opportunity for the many developers out there that come from all sections of the market to put forward their apps for assessment.
“Being featured on the library is not only a great bonus for developers, but it also helps clinical commissioning groups [CCGs] and patients who will have the reassurance that the apps featured are evidence based and result in positive patient outcomes.”
The plan is for the new library, which currently hold 46 apps, to consist of three different tiers of apps.
Read more about healthcare apps
- Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has set out plans for giving patients access to records and booking GP appointments through app.
- App developed with IT company ThinkShield helps clinicians at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust to prioritise at-risk patients.
- Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust’s informatics service has developed an app to help reduce the stigma around electro-convulsive therapy.
The first is NHS-approved apps with a published evidence base assessed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), demonstrating they can “help a person manage and improve their health”.
The second is NHS-connected apps that have been “tested and approved for connections to NHS systems”, meaning you can download information from NHS systems into the app.
The third is standard “health apps which will be a directory of other health applications that you may choose to use”.
The apps library currently includes one “NHS-approved” app for COPD, two mental health apps currently being tested in the NHS, as well as a range of other apps covering areas such as diabetes, pelvic floor muscles, seeing a GP via video consultations and ordering repeat prescriptions.
Chief digital officer at NHS England, Juliet Bauer, said as digital technology is now a part of our lives, the NHS wants to “harness the advantages of digital to improve services and empower patients to take control of their own health”.
“Apps can provide a real insight into patients’ conditions, enabling clinicians to deliver better, more relevant treatment and give patients more control over their care,” she said.