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NHS Kernow’s website closed on 30 June 2022. Visit the NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Integrated Care Board website for information about our health and care services.

A digital health library to help care for people

Residents across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have access to a new digital health library, thanks to a partnership between the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA) and NHS Kernow. The online library of carefully reviewed apps will provide support to people for a broad range of healthcare needs.
As delivery of care continues to evolve, and with demand on services at a high, there is growing use of health apps to support patients with a wide variety of needs. These range from long-term conditions such as cancer and diabetes, through mental health, to lifestyle changes such as diet management, sleep improvement and help to stop smoking.

The approach is part of the NHS long term plan. The government states that digital tools should be used as a supplement to the more traditional forms of healthcare. This will help to achieve savings for the NHS, but importantly it empowers people to take steps to manage their own health.

ORCHA is the world’s leading app review and distribution company. To date, it has created libraries for 70% of NHS regions. Now, Cornwall has its very own version with hundreds of highly rated health apps to support its population.

Dr John Garman, NHS Kernow Governing Body member and senior partner at Helston Medical Centre says: “I am excited that we now have our own digital health library for the people of Cornwall. It will provide a great many of them with direct help to manage and prevent such a breadth of conditions.

“It can be difficult to know where to begin when choosing from the hundreds of thousands of apps available online. The benefit of this health library is that it narrows the field to a choice that has been critically reviewed and approved. I encourage people to explore the library and see what it offers for their own particular set of needs.”

ORCHA uses 350 tough standards to review health apps. The scoring process takes influence from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance to measure the effectiveness of digital health technologies.

Only those apps which gain a score of more than 65% for the key themes of clinical assurance, data privacy and usability will feature. To maintain these strict standards, a fresh review is triggered each time an app is updated.

Says Dr Garman: “Speaking as a GP, this provides a trusted resource for those of us working in general practice too. We can recommend self-management tools with confidence. Enabling patients to take control of their symptoms in this way will ultimately improve their health outcomes. That is a big positive.”

There are apps available for both android and Apple users, and many are entirely free. To find out more or search for an app to help you, visit the ORCHA website.

Added on 27 June 2022, in News - General news

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