Liz Ashall Payne is a clinician in speech and therapist care. Through her practice she became interested in how health and care apps were being rated and ranked, enabling clinicians to recommend the best apps for patients asking for support. Research discovered there are 165k health and care apps, with four million downloads every day. For clinicians, there’s a real risk in terms of how to assure yourself that the apps patients and professionals are using are safe.
Orcha works by offering a review process to rate and rank health and care apps. It also provides a shop window for developers so it’s easy for people to find the right products they need.
The review process begins with an automated tool analysing each of the apps. This first step removes all those that are redundant, have too many glitches or aren’t being maintained. Around 90k are removed at this stage.
The next phase sees the apps filtered into separate categories, over which they have over 100. Diabetes, for example, has 2667 apps. This stage is a human review process. Each app is looked at, reviewed for its impact on wellbeing, whether it’s self manage or prescribed to help with patient care, or a control app helping a clinician to do their job better.
At this stage the functionality of the app is assessed. There’s not one area to review but several including data, clinical validity, the design and user feedback. The app is then given a value and risk score.
The ranking and risk is sent to the app developer, with a suggestion of what they could do to improve their value and reduce that risk. There’s added value as well for the app developers as well as clinicians in using the data behind the site to examine what apps are looked at, what apps have been prescribed and what apps people want.
Orcha were one of several eHealth Cluster members who took part in the cluster-managed Digital Space at Ilinks 2016, where they were given the opportunity to tell an audience of senior NHS professionals about their work, and how they are integrating digital technology with health and social care services.