NHS partners across the Humber are breaking new ground with an innovation designed to help people lead healthier lives from their smartphone and tablet.
With more than 325,000 health apps on the market, there is now a solution to help residents of the Humber region find the best and safest ones, in the shape of an easy-to-use library on the web: www.humberhealthapps.co.uk.
For the first time, residents across the Humber can access a raft of reviewed apps to improve their health and well-being from a single source – safe in the knowledge that they have been tried and tested, and that their personal data is secure.
Each app is subjected to seven stages of rigorous testing to investigate how safe and user-friendly it is, and to assess any potential risks it may hold, before getting a clear and transparent review score that is shown on the apps library. With upwards of 200 new health and care apps hitting the market every day, the library is updated constantly to keep pace with the latest clinical guidance.
The site also has the added dimension of assisting GPs and other health professionals across the Humber region recommend trusted apps to their patients.
Dr Anne Jeffreys, Local GP and East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Chairperson said: “Health apps are a great way to get up to date, useful information on looking after yourself and keeping healthy. They are also a good way of monitoring your own illnesses especially long-term conditions such as diabetes. Humber health apps have been clinically reviewed and are safe and secure to use which is very reassuring when there are so many source of information available.”
Dr James Crick, Associate Medical Director, NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group: “Apps and digital solutions are not for everyone, but having a trusted source of advice should help those individuals, who wish to, to identify apps which are safe and useful. This may support local people to make more informed choices around decisions that could impact on their health in the longer-term and improve their own physical and emotional wellbeing.”
The initiative has been developed by NHS partners across the Humber in collaboration with experts from ORCHA – the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Applications. The partnership aims to make it easier for the Humber community to find the best and safest apps for hundreds of different needs, such as better mental health, stopping smoking, improving fitness, overcoming breathing difficulties, and managing diabetes.
John Mitchell, Associate Director of IT at the CCG said, “Every day across the Humber, people from all walks of life, young and old, use mobile apps to improve their health and well-being.
“With more than five million downloads globally every day; they are increasingly becoming an important part of our everyday life.
“Yet for us, apps aren’t just about giving information – they are also about engaging patients in their own healthcare.
“Our patients already use apps to check their symptoms, track their worries, monitor their medications, and review all manner of concerns. Now this site allows us to help them find those apps that will let them do so in a safe way.”
Liz Ashall-Payne, ORCHA’s Chief Executive, said: “The market is awash with mobile health apps – there are twice as many as just four years ago.
“But until now it has been difficult for people to navigate app stores to compare different apps, and ensure they are good and safe.
“It has been a fantastic experience working with clinicians and digital health innovators from across NHS partners in Humber as we’ve brought this initiative to life.”
[Eleanor Weaver – NHS Hull CCG]