ORCHA partners with The American Telemedicine Association

ORCHA, the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps has partnered with The American Telemedicine Association to support patients access safe and effective health apps.

The association will be supported by ORCHA’s automated review process so that patients can access more than 300 healthcare apps that meet the approved criteria.

The partnership will develop criteria specific for the U.S. market, for then approved apps to be added to The American Telemedicine Association’s app library.

Liz Ashall Payne, CEO, ORCHA said: “This move by the ATA will help bring clarity to the market. Health providers will be able to identify if a solution is ATA approved and so of high quality. It will also give developers an effective means of distribution, as the ATA app library will be accessed by its wide membership base across the U.S.  The partnership with the ATA will first focus on assessing and distributing digital health solutions that have been designed to support behavioural health or mental wellbeing.”

“As ORCHA has already assessed and distributed thousands of digital solutions across the NHS, Europe and beyond, the programme will leverage this work for the U.S.  This means many of the mental health apps already assessed by ORCHA may quickly appear in the ATA library, supporting the export of digital solutions.”

Ann Mond Johnson, CEO, the ATA, said: “The proliferation of health apps has created challenges for healthcare providers and patients seeking to find the most appropriate, safe, and effective health apps to monitor their health and wellness, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and securely collect and transmit personal health information. We are delighted to partner with ORCHA to address this critical need and give both patients and providers greater confidence in selecting safe and effective apps.”

“Chat-based interactions and asynchronous tools are an important component of telehealth offerings and can help ensure that everyone has access to safe, effective, and appropriate care when and where they need it.”

ORCHA has evaluated more than 4,000 health apps currently available in the U.S. against its criteria and found only 15% meet quality thresholds.

The company said: “Most apps fail to meet healthcare, security or usability standards established to safeguard patients.  Such quality standards apply across apps for all health conditions, from fitness to heart conditions.  For example, ORCHA has assessed 584 apps designed to support people with mental health conditions and found only 29.6% meet quality thresholds.”

Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, President of the ATA; Professor, Harvard Medical School, said: “The mission of the ATA is to create access to quality care for all individuals and this is another important step, ensuring people have access to safe and appropriate digital health apps.”