ORCHA at the Health and Social Care Select Committee

ORCHA at the Health and Social Care Select Committee

As Steve Brine MP, and Chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, observes “The NHS is one of the most important subjects around at the moment.”  

Digital health can help address NHS pressures, including those seen in urgent and elective care, and so we are especially proud and encouraged that ORCHA was invited as a Witness to speak at the Health and Social Care Select Committee, as it looked to assess the progress made to achieve a digitally enabled health system across the NHS.  

ORCHA was invited, together with Diabetes UK and Cystic Fibrosis Trust, to discuss the steps that will help the NHS to accelerate its digital transformation.  

Our thoughts on this subject include:  

The majority of people in the UK agree that it was vital we all look at new ways to manage our health, including using high-quality digital health apps. 62% of people in the UK agree with this, of which 41% strongly agree.  

Amongst people who have used a health app, satisfaction is very high. Overall, 85% of people who have used a health app are satisfied with it, with 36% of those being very satisfied.  

But, although there is advocacy amongst the majority for digital health to support their mental health, when asked, the public does have concerns that should be addressed. These include clinical efficacy, data security and financial. 

These concerns are well placed. ORCHA has assessed 23,000 health apps against 350+ criteria across Clinical/Professional Assurance, Data & Privacy, and Usability & Accessibility. Only 20% meet quality thresholds.  

The NHS is a heavily governed sector; we expect policy and process, to assure that the right decisions are being made for patient safety. The controlled stages of assessment, education and distribution have long been in place for medicine.  

Digital health technologies bring significant benefit, but can also bring risk. A product not fit for purpose can affect a person’s physical or mental health, arising from the operation of the product itself, such as inaccurate diagnosis, unsafe treatment delivery, or incorrect guidance.  

Key take aways:  

Considering this, as discussed today, we recommend that the committee considers: 

  1. Awareness – People don’t know that these technologies exist. Both the public and health and care professionals need to be familiar with the product they are recommending in order to feel comfortable promoting it. 
  2. Accessibility – Once a healthcare professional is ready to recommend or prescribe a product it is crucial that there is an easy and accessible method of doing this. If DHP recommendation and prescribing is to become an integral part of day to day health and care delivery, it needs to be systematised and incorporated into HCP’s usual working practices.   
  3. Trust – to be able to trust that every product in question is safe and effective. A proportionate, objective and continuous assessment process is needed.  
  4. Governance and reimbursement – to be comfortable with the risk associated with their engagement and active promotion of digital health products. Ensuring assessments are continuous, liability is clear, and tracking plus payment is essential.   

 

To watch the discussion: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/83689477-cb0e-4812-bce4-523a42acd8ee 

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Digital health sector will take advantage of landmark new UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement 

Digital health sector will take advantage of landmark new UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement 

ORCHA signs historic partnership with Cogniss to unlock next generation of digital health

Two digital health companies, ORCHA and Cogniss, have announced a global partnership that will benefit from the new UK-Australian Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which has just passed through the UK House of Commons and is anticipated to come into effect in 2023.

The FTA will drive increased trade, two-way investment, economic growth and job creation.  It’s the first international FTA the UK government has negotiated from scratch since leaving the EU.

ORCHA is the UK-based world leader in digital health evaluation and distribution. Australian-based Cogniss is a no-code digital health platform which enables innovators to create solutions without any need for coding or technical expertise.

Under the new partnership, apps created through the Cogniss no-code platform will meet ORCHA Baseline Review standards in relation to data, security and accessibility. This will streamline the app development and evaluation process, and enable healthcare professionals to develop bespoke content that meets professional assurance standards but without the need for them to have advanced technical expertise.

It will also help reduce regulatory and technical barriers and increase quality; issues that frequently hinder solutions from making their way into the NHS and Medicare, Australia’s universal health care scheme.

Speaking at an event held at Australian High Commission hosted by Senator Hon Don Farrell, Fiona Costello, SVP of Accreditations at ORCHA said:

“We are often approached by clinicians with solutions to the problems they are facing, but they lack the time, resources and expertise to build them, therefore relying on commercial products that are not always a perfect fit. Alongside Cogniss, we can now help them to understand the criteria to create high quality technologies and, through this partnership, support them to develop market-ready solutions.”

Dr Lloyd Humphreys, Cogniss’s newly appointed Managing Director, said:

“Having founded and created a digital health solution for addictions back in 2009, it took over two years and a million pounds of investment. Since then, nothing has changed in the way we design and create apps. Cogniss represents a complete paradigm shift for the sector and working with ORCHA further accelerates the ability to lower the barriers for clinical entrepreneurs to create great technology that solves the challenges they are facing.”

Cogniss is currently setting up global headquarters in Cambridge with support from the UK Department of International Trade, Investment NSW and Austrade.

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First thousand frontline workers complete ORCHA training academy

First thousand frontline workers complete ORCHA training academy

One thousand delegates from across the NHS and care sectors have logged onto the new ORCHA Digital Health Academy and completed foundation training modules.

The UK’s first digital health training resource for frontline healthcare staff has been available nationwide since March 2022. It’s available at orcha-academy.com and on the Health Education England Learning Hub (learninghub.nhs.uk), where it is one of the most frequently accessed catalogues.

The academy is a free resource for frontline workers which offers CPD-accredited training in short, bite-size modules, to suit busy schedules. The service is provided by ORCHA, the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps, and Boehringer Ingelheim enabled free access to the foundation modules through its sponsorship.

The academy was launched after research by ORCHA revealed that whilst 65% of the public are open to trying digital health, only a fraction of tools are recommended to patients by health or care professionals, with only 3% of recommendations coming from hospital doctors, 6% from GPs and 2% from nurses.

The need to support a digitally-ready workforce has been highlighted by the NHSX Readiness Plan which states that there is a critical requirement to invest in developing front-line skills for digital health through professional development.  This need was also reaffirmed in the government’s plan for digital health and social care, published on 29 June .

The new academy has already been embedded into learning platforms at Hereford and Worcester ICS, Birmingham Community NHS Foundation Trust, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust and the mHealth Hub.

Healthcare professionals have been trained from ICSs and Trusts in Devon, Hereford and Worcester, Humber and North Yorkshire, Cornwall, Lancashire, Dorset, Shropshire, Telford, Derbyshire, Surrey and Somerset. Delegates have also been trained from Alzheimer’s Scotland, charity Best for You with CW+ and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists.

Delegates have responded extremely positively to the foundation modules, with one ICU nurse from Kings College Hospital commenting:

“Super grateful for @ORCHAhealth’s course. 10/10.”

A researcher at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital said:

“Already thinking of digital solutions beyond what we are doing now. Great course.”

Alison Johnson, Director of Programmes and Projects at ORCHA, said:

“For all of us who have worked in the NHS and understand the reality of the time pressures and technical shortfalls experienced by frontline staff, getting the academy right has been deeply personal. We are over the moon that so many delegates have tried our foundation modules and given such a positive response.”

Uday Bose, Managing Director and Head of Human Pharma at Boehringer Ingelheim UK & Ireland, said:

“We all understand why digital health is needed. The academy is at the vanguard of how it is going to happen. There’s no other grass roots training facility like this and we are so pleased to have enabled its inception, by supporting the development of the foundational modules.”

Discussions are taking place NHS-wide about embedding the academy in operations. Two further CCGs are set to add links to training hub sites. Our Dorset is using the academy as part of its onboarding for care co-ordinators in primary care.

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NHS National Diabetes Prevention Case Study: How do health apps make a difference for people with diabetes?

NHS National Diabetes Prevention Case Study: How do health apps make a difference for people with diabetes?

In early 2021, Ingeus, the company who deliver the National Diabetes Prevention Programme on behalf of the NHS, began using Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership’s ORCHA Health App Library. The educators for the programme recognised that health apps could play a key role in supporting people with managing their weight, nutrition and exercise in a way that would be beneficial to preventing or reducing their risk of diabetes. By building the recommendation of health apps into their care pathway, they were able to additionally support participants of the service. Watch our case study to hear from a recommender and two participants of the programme about the successes of the project, and what they think of the ORCHA Health App Library.  

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For more information about our services, to request a demo, or for advice on any aspect of digital health, please get in touch.