NHS Dorset ICB App Library sees 5,400 app recommendations made

NHS Dorset ICB has shared a case study on its partnership with ORCHA to develop a Dorset App Library for health apps and digital healthcare products, with the aim of providing “easy, central access to a range of digital tools” along with ensuring confidence that apps within the library meet standards across data privacy, clinical safety, interoperability, accessibility and more.

Since it was launched in 2020, the library has reportedly received “over 62k site visits and over 165k page views”, with more than 5,400 app recommendations made to users. The case study also highlights that “over 260 professionals/teams are using that library as part of their day to day working” across LiveWell Dorset, primary care, local authorities and the voluntary sector.

Assessing the impact, analysis showed that the most popular searches and downloads were apps relating to mental health; that Active Monitoring teams at Dorset Mind found the library particularly useful in supporting people during the “whilst waiting period”; and that the six webinars on the use of the app library to date have been “well received”.

Challenges outlined by the case study include cultural issues around awareness and digital readiness amongst the healthcare workforce, which the ICB aimed to overcome through onboarding and education sessions for the app library.

The ICB notes that the partnership with ORCHA ensures that health apps are reviewed prior to their introduction across the ICS and as such “health professionals are provided with awareness, accessibility, and trust to recommend the use of health apps to the population for supported self-management”.

Crystal Dennis, interim lead for digital access to service @home for Our Dorset Digital, said: “After Transformation Boards learned of what had been achieved in Dorset, everyone was unanimous in the view that it was a no-brainer to roll out an app library powered by ORCHA across the seven ICS organisations.”

The case study also sets out next steps including undertaking further reviews of impact to understand how the library is currently being used and any “unmet needs”, and raising awareness of the library across NHS Dorset.

To read the case study in full, please click here.

NHS Dorset’s search for volunteers for its Digital Public Engagement Group was one of the stories covered in one of our recent news in brief articles, with the aim of helping to develop digital health and care services across the region.

In related news, Barnsley Hospital has launched a smartphone app which offers children waiting for surgery a virtual tour of the hospital from the waiting room to the operating theatre, featuring characters such a koala nurse and a rhinoceros doctor to help children feel “comfortable” before their procedure.