Do you trust the selection of health and care applications that are available to download at the touch of a button? ORCHA understands that when it comes to our health and wellbeing quality, trust and confidence are of paramount importance. This also applies to app technology. ORCHA is a live resource that addresses this issue head on. By reviewing and rating applications, we offer trust and knowledge that give confidence to health and care professionals, in order to benefit from this technology, whilst avoiding low quality, misleading apps that are deemed of risk by ORCHA’s rating system ORCHA is the go to resource for users, health and care professionals, app developers, government and healthcare bodies to help ensure the wealth of new apps are safe, valued, visible, utilised and monitored for optimum outcome for all parties
The use of mobile and tablet technology is growing exponentially in the UK. This year Ofcom reported that 93% of UK adults have a mobile phone, of which 73% are smartphones. This has increased 27% since 2012.
With this spread of access, public attitudes and behaviours are changing:
• Seven in ten (69%) internet users say that technology has changed the way they communicate and six in ten (59%) say these new communications methods have made life easier
• More than seven in ten adult internet users (72%) have a social media profile
• A quarter of adults with a Twitter account use it to air complaints or frustration
• 85% of households have access to the internet, with 30% being superfast
What does all this mean for the mHealth app market and its potential impact on the delivery of healthcare in the next few years?
First of all, with a few exceptions of some developing regions, almost everybody in the world will have a device which could be targeted with an mHealth solution. The likelihood that soon doctors and patients will meet in the doctors office to talk about apps which could support medical treatments is very high, given the high penetration rate of smartphones and tablets among professionals and the interest app users show in mHealth apps.
According to the Global Mobile Health Market Report published in February 2012, five hundred million people will be using mobile health apps by 2016. The findings from this report indicate that the long expected mobile revolution in healthcare is set to happen soon! How soon depends on the quality of the resources available.
Of the current health apps on the market, 43% are designed for healthcare professionals, indicating the future of mHealth has far-reaching personal and institutional potential.
Around 165,000 mHealth apps are currently available and this has the potential to transform healthcare through improved efficiency and quality as well as empowering patients to take charge of their health at home. A challenge we face is identifying which apps are of use and which present risk to both the professionals who are recommending them, and the people who are using them.
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We are now seeing strategies emerging from health and social services to use apps effectively. However, there are currently few independent reviews to ensure their effectiveness, safety or value to the user and professional. ORCHA, the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Applications, offers a platform of validated apps so the public and professionals have the confidence to use and recommend apps to revolutionise wellbeing and resources. Tackling this mammoth problem requires bold solutions, effective leadership and purposeful collaboration across the wide spectrum of healthcare. NHS England have published a framework called ‘Personalised Health and Care 2020: a framework for action’, which outlines examples of how the application of technology can improve health outcomes, transform quality and reduce cost. There are also ambitions to use technology to help encourage self-help and self-care which involve the use of healthcare apps. We hope ORCHA will allow professionals, patients and the public to embrace the opportunity to use this technology, offering a cost effective, highly efficient method of utilising such app technology.
Our aims are to;
• Improve app quality and visibility
• Reduce patient care costs in the NHS
• Improve uptake of apps to help support in the prevention and treatment of conditions
• Extend patient care by the NHS to include valuable app support
• Improve data on the usage and benefits of app technology.
As ORCHA will have valuable oversight of the Health and Care app market we will be able to identify where there is duplication and where there is opportunity for app developers to deliver new or improved apps, or collaborate to deliver something of higher value to the end user and professional. Through capturing data, monitoring performance and sharing knowledge throughout the NHS, we can scale at a rapid rate to effect significant and timely benefits and cost savings.