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NHS Digital apps and wearables team hosts Swedish delegation

Representatives from Sweden's key health organisations visited NHS Digital this week to share knowledge and experience of the apps and digital healthcare landscape.

The delegation came from Sweden's public-sector organisations including the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, the Medical Products Agency and the Swedish eHealth Agency.

Arriving in Leeds on Monday, the delegation spent two days with NHS Digital to find out more about the apps and wearables programme, and to discuss how we have approached the process for developing the first set of nationally approved standards for health and care apps.

NHS Digital's James Hawkins hosted the group alongside Hazel Jones, programme director, and fellow colleagues Adam Lewis, Jackie Tatterton, Hayley Lockwood, Wayne Shirt and Janet Morgan.

Mr Hawkins said: "We were delighted to welcome our colleagues from Sweden, to share the important work our organisation is doing to ensure patients have access to safe, trusted digital healthcare tools.

"As we develop a consistent, national set of standards and continue to expand our support offer for industry, which the world is, indeed, watching.

"Not only will be sharing our own learning, but it is a fantastic opportunity to understand what the challenges are in this area from our Swedish counterparts."

The packed, two-day agenda included a visit to third-party developers Infinity Works, which the NHS Digital apps team has been working closely with on the redesign of its developer site and assessment portal.

Following their visit, the Swedish delegation issued a statement which said: "We have really enjoyed our visit.

"The interest in this trip was overwhelming, and we ended up being a group of 18 people from nine different organisations.

"We are entering a new stage in Sweden, as we seek to realize our vision for 2025, and we were thrilled to get the opportunity to learn from the processes and achievements made by our international colleagues.

"We have really enjoyed the learning experience and are taking lots of inspiration back home with us. The hospitality of the NHS Digital team and their willingness to share all lessons learned has been great. We have been truly impressed with their boldness to step out into unknown territory to assist the digital development, while always keeping the citizen first in mind.

"We look forward to a continuing cooperation and getting to share more of their journey."

The delegation also met Mark Salmon and Mark Campbell from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and Charles Lowe and Julie Bretland from Our Mobile Health, experts in digital health apps, which have recently been selected to work with NHS Digital on the apps assessment process.

The apps and wearables team is currently working on a number of projects to develop the apps assessment process and support developers through The NHS Apps Library, which is currently in beta, includes more than 40 apps and over time will grow to include many more trusted digital tools.