Growing the NHS Apps Library

By Hazel Jones, 22 February 2018

 

A smartphone in a person's hand with an NHS app open on it.

The NHS Apps Library was launched as a public beta nearly a year ago. Now we want to encourage more developers to step forward and develop their apps, so that they can join this NHS digital platform.

As part of our ongoing work with industry, we are pleased to announce a new agreement with Our Mobile Health, who are going to be third-party assessors for apps looking to be signposted from our library. This is ahead of our plans for later in the year to create a set of ‘approved assessors’, enabling us to leverage multiple industry specialists in app assessment. Having access to a range of app assessors will enable us to increase the volume of trusted health apps for citizens and patients.

Trusted digital health tools

The vision right from the outset was to provide a library of digital health tools that people knew were accessible and easy to use, and that they could trust.

Apps can be found anywhere on the internet, but when an app is featured on our library, there is a reassurance that it has been assessed by the NHS against measures such as clinical safety and effectiveness.

Our aim is that the NHS Apps Library will become increasingly popular, as it becomes the go-to, trusted home of apps that people can deploy to help them improve their quality of life.

When developers come to us to take the assessment of their app forward, they need to submit an application that is then carefully considered and assessed for eligibility.

This means they have to be able to demonstrate that they can satisfy a range of standards across privacy, efficacy, usability and safety, so they can be clear which requirements are necessary. Patients and citizens need to be able to find them easy to use and know that the app will meet their needs, as well as that they have met our high standards, including compliance with the new General Data Protection Regulations which are coming into force in May.

Supporting market innovation

The criteria for apps are set out on Developer.nhs.uk, which is a space for the developer market, to help us offer valuable healthcare benefits to our patients.

By working with third parties such as Our Mobile Health, who have many years of experience in this field, we can help developers through this funnel, making it clear how they can meet the necessary requirements if they don’t already do so. We can also help developers access the funding they may need to reach the standards expected and liaise with partners in the AHSN Network, to build the essential relationships that boost innovation and support clearer routes to market.

To find out more about the app assessment process, please visithttps://developer.nhs.uk/apps/.