Apps, Secondary Care

Salford app library adds ORCHA validation

The recently launched app library has added a new dimension to its selection of rigoursouly tested apps by highlighting the validation of each app.

The collaboration between Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust in collaboration with ORCHA – the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Applications means the most trusted apps are being presented. The team at Salford GDE rigorously tested more than 325,000 apps on the market to make it easier for people to download the most trusted ones.

The apps downloaded most frequently are those that support people with anxiety, stress, eating issues, sleeping patterns, depression and other mental health-related conditions and exercise and hobby-based apps.

Dr Jessica Dean, Consultant Clinical Psychologist “As psychologists, we do a lot of work with patients in relation to managing their thoughts and feelings. One of the ideas we had was that using apps in addition to our talking based therapies would be a step forward in our treatments. There can however be dangers associated with using apps that haven’t been well scrutinised, particularly in the area of mental health.”

“The information and advice we provide to patients (be it an app or verbal advice) is quite powerful, especially when people are feeling emotionally vulnerable, so making sure that the apps we recommend are of good quality is therefore very important.”

“This is where the ORCHA website proves extremely useful. The new ORCHA website adds a different dimension as it helps therapists to understand if an app is safe to use, or if the information it contains is accurate and well validated.”

“It’s also important to remember that apps aren’t just about giving information – they are also about engaging patients in their own mental healthcare and well-being.”

The Trust is now considering sharing links of apps and information in appointment letters, so their patients can access the apps before seeing a psychologist and try their benefits first-hand as a form of self-help.

Jessica added: “The initial feedback has been really good and hopefully Mental Health Awareness Week will further raise the profile of this innovation and encourage more people to download the apps –safe in the knowledge that they have been tried and tested.”

Each app is subjected to the seven stages of the ORCHA review process to investigate how good, secure and user-friendly it really is, and to assess any potential risks it may hold, before being given 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 being updated constantly to keep pace with the latest clinical thinking.