The UK’s health service is making a renewed call for developers to submit their health apps for inclusion in the NHS Apps Library
It’s been a rocky road for the NHS Apps Library. The library first launched back in 2013, was closed in 2015, and then re-launched in 2017. For it to survive, it will need to meet its goal of becoming the “go-to place” for “safe and effective digital tools”.
There’s certainly a market for such a library. Standard app stores are full of health software making various claims — some are superb, but the effectiveness of many are dubious.
Unless you’re a health professional, it can be difficult to filter the good from the bad. What this means is that apps which could have a positive impact on people’s health, and deserve recognition for it, can get buried among the rest.
NHS Digital has partnered with digital health app experts Our Mobile Health to assess the effectiveness of apps submitted to the library. If an app is listed, it’s a powerful acclamation from health professionals that it works.
Hazel Jones, Programme Director at NHS Digital, said:
"Patients can be confident that the apps they are using are safe and trusted. We are looking forward to working with Our Mobile Health in developing that process.
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 CCGs and patients who will have the reassurance that the apps featured are evidence-based and result in positive patient outcomes."
Three different tiers of apps will be featured in the new library:
NHS-approved apps which have evidence assessed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
Apps which connect to the NHS’ systems to access data in a safe, tested, and authorised manner.
Standard “health apps which will be a directory of other health applications which you may choose to use”
There are currently 46 apps in the library covering a range of issues such as mental health, diabetes, and more. The one ‘NHS-approved’ app currently in the store is for COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
"Digital technology is now a part of all our lives and in the NHS we want to harness the advantages of digital to improve services and empower patients to take control of their own health,” comments Juliet Bauer, Chief Digital Officer at NHS England.
“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."
What are your thoughts on the NHS App Library? Let us know in the comments.