12 March 2020
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SALFORD is breaking new ground with a home-grown innovation designed to help people lead healthier lives from their smartphone and tablet.
With over 325,000 health care apps on the market, there is now a solution to help residents of Salford find the best and safest ones, in the shape of an easy-to-use library on the web: salford.orcha.co.uk.
For the first time, people across Salford can now access a raft of 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 tests to investigate how good, secure and user-friendly it really is, and to assess any potential risks it may hold, before getting a clear and transparent review score.
With upwards of 200 new care and health apps hitting the market every day, the dedicated app library is updated constantly to keep pace with the latest clinical thinking.
It also has the added dimension of helping GPs and other health professionals across Salford recommend trusted apps to their patients.
The initiative has been developed by Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust 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 Salford community to find approved apps for hundreds of different needs, such as better mental health, stopping smoking, improving fitness, overcoming breathing difficulties, and managing diabetes.
And if there is a specific condition or area that people are interested in, and struggling to find, the team will look into whether there are apps that it can add to its database that are suitable.
Dr Jim Ritchie, Chief Clinical Information Officer and a Consultant Renal Physician at the Trust said: “Every day across Salford, people from all walks of life, young and old, use mobile apps to improve their health and well-being.
“With more than four 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.
“They can use apps to check their symptoms, track their worries, monitor their medications, and review all manner of concerns. Our new app library brings all the best apps for achieving this to patients’ fingertips.”
Rachel Dunscombe, Salford Royal’s Director of Digital and Chief Executive of the NHS Digital Academy, said: “The role of apps is absolutely essential in creating an outstanding digital health environment.
“With their depth of knowledge of the app landscape and the needs of the NHS, ORCHA has helped us to develop a growing library of safe and secure apps that we could not hae achieved on our own.”
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 was 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 at Salford Royal to bring this initiative to life.
“Their expertise and robust approach has tested and shaped this programme into one that the wider NHS can replicate.”
This is the latest project to go live as part of Salford Royal’s programme of more than 50 world-class projects, being fast-tracked by its specialist Global Digital Exemplar and Future Digital teams.