With the nation asked to stay at home where possible and an increasing number self-isolating, digital health has never been so important. Apps help us manage our physical and mental health from home and keep pressure off the NHS and other care partners.
But in a time of fake reviews, scams and personal data breaches, not all health and care apps in app stores can be trusted. The Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA) found that 85% of almost 6,000 apps it has reviewed do not meet recognised compliance and quality thresholds.

  As a result, health and care partners across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin are asking people to visit their local health app library (http://www.stwstp.org.uk/), which only features apps that have been evaluated by ORCHA to ensure they are compliant with relevant regulations and standards. Users can search for and find apps to help a wide range of conditions and support on everything from pregnancy to stopping smoking. The library also features apps that specifically tackle health conditions relevant to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, such as diabetes, respiratory conditions and anxiety.Dr Jane Povey, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin’s Sustainability and Transformation Partnership Clinical Lead, said, “In the current COVID-19 crisis, finding the most effective health care apps that meet trusted standards is so important. People need assurance when selecting apps to feel confident that the information being provided is accurate, and that the apps are both secure and helpful.“I am delighted that we can offer assurance to the public and staff in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin by launching our local Health App Library. The new app library will provide a one stop shop where the public and staff can access safe and secure apps to help them during the pandemic and beyond.”Dr Stephen James, Chief Clinical Information Officer for Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “The new app library provides the public with additional practical resources and support. It empowers people by giving them the opportunity to manage their own physical and mental health, whilst reassuring them that the apps they’re using are the best and safest around, and have been approved by local clinicians in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.”The large number of COVID-19 apps that have launched to date are also being tested and those that meet the relevant quality thresholds will also be featured in the library.

Any app offering special pricing or implementation approaches to support the COVID-19 challenge also features a ‘COVID-19’ label in the library, so that users can spot any special offers or approaches.

Examples of great apps that can be found in the library include:

Wysa: Offering a mental health and wellbeing package to support the population not only now, but when this pandemic passes and the emotional effect remains. NHS front line staff can register for access to premium tools and custom covid-19 anxiety packages for free.

Sleepio: A digital programme scientifically proven to help you sleep well without taking medication. Supporting the COVID-19 efforts.  Sleepio is currently free for all NHS staff.

FibriCheck: Test your heart rhythm in just 60 seconds by holding your finger over the camera on your smartphone.

Pharmacy2U:  Get your medicine without leaving home. Flexible and free delivery for NHS prescriptions.

Shropshire, Telford & Shropshire’s Health App Library can be found at: http://www.stwstp.org.uk/

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