- Dr Chris Mimnagh
Embedding great Apps and Web Services into your key care pathways is the ultimate way to embrace Digital Health and to make it part of your day to day service offer. Our unique review and assessment process can be used to select, commission and accredit these solutions to support this.Get in touch
Our unique App Finding and Matching features maximise the opportunity for individuals to find a suitable solution that they will stick with. This is a crucial element in activating the hard to reach. By matching the solution to their characteristics, preferences and specific needs, the chances of a good and sustainable fit is significantly improved. Locally branded and tailored Digital Health portals and libraries in the UK and abroad then reflect and respond to local issues and challenges (see https://lancashire.orcha.co.uk/, https://salford.orcha.co.uk/, https://estonia.orcha.co.uk/ for some examples). With over 80 of these sites, populations of millions have access to the best health and care apps, and tens of thousands of health and care professionals have the facility to recommend apps straight to their patients' mobile devices.Get in touch
Our structured training programmes - online and face to face - provide you with the knowledge to confidently embrace Digital Health.Get in touch
There are many elements of the surrounding landscape for Digital Health services that require fostering and development. ORCHA Consult is targeted at projects that add value to the digital health landscape and are focussed on specific issues or challenges. Our multi-disciplinary team can offer targeted solutions to many of these issues and we are increasingly seen as the experts in the field.Get in touch
How does the review process work?
Who does your Reviews?
Our reviewers are recruited and trained by ORCHA from a wide array of backgrounds and roles. They are not experts in any particular field of App assessment but rapidly become expert in interrogating Apps to answer the questions posed by our Review Development Team who are all experts in the relevant areas such as clinical, technical, regulation, user experience and design.
The Review Development Team are responsible for the questions our Reviewers are looking to answer. They set out very clearly what evidence the Reviewers need to find to answer a question affirmatively and they also determine the consequences of the answer to each question in terms of positive or negative points being awarded which drives our scoring process.
Our Reviewers are guided through each review through our online review tool and this ensures that all the relevant questions are investigated. Where our Reviewers encounter scenarios that the Review Development Team haven’t specified, the Reviewers refer these back to the relevant member of the Review Development Team for guidance.
This combination of highly trained dedicated reviewers and our wider expert group in the Review Development Team means that we can review lots of Apps in a timely and cost effective manner.
If you’re interested in becoming an ORCHA Reviewer please contact us here
How detailed is your Review?
Our Review aims to provide useful indications of whether an App appears to be safe and of value across a range of areas such as Data and Security and Clinical Assurance. It involves an evaluation of over 130+ elements of an App and validates crucial information such as compliance with relevant Data and Privacy regulations, compliance with key Medical Device regulations (currently being implanted to reflect new regulations) and it also assesses an App against a range of other areas of standards and best practice. It is not however the same as a full user test of an App and it does not validate all the claims made by App Developers many of which would require detailed clinical and other testing and in many cases, extensive user testing and trials.
Outside of a small number of national accreditation schemes there is no other extensive review process that covers as many elements of an Apps delivery as ours. One such process is delivered in the English NHS via NHS England/Digital who have an assessment process which covers many of the elements we do, but also undertakes a more detailed analysis of other elements that goes beyond our current process (albeit we do also operate – but currently don’t publish- a secondary review stage that is aligned to these additional stages). We do however capture and note all the Apps that have achieved an ‘approval’ through this process and the few other equivalent national processes in operation.
Whilst these national schemes aspire to increase the number of Apps they look at, at present they have only reviewed a tiny fraction of the Apps available and a small percentage of the numbers of Apps we have assessed. This means that the level of coverage and choice that these approaches offer is currently quite limited.
For some Apps there is a further level of scrutiny applied if they are classified as Medical Devices, albeit it still depends a lot on what level of classification they reach as to how much additional scrutiny they are subjected to. Class i medical devices for example are largely based on a self-certification approach.
Even Apps that have undertaken and published clinical trials or equivalent studies and have been subjected to relevant peer review, whilst clearly showing a great commitment to establishing their clinical credentials and efficacy, may not properly comply with other crucial aspects of an Apps overall delivery such as data security or user configuration etc which we also evaluate.
Against this backdrop and in this context, we believe our process is as robust as it is possible to be without undertaking a much more detailed and costly evaluation that would limit the range and scope of Apps we are able to consider. We also believe – and constantly monitor and test our process around this – that the combination of the measures we consider does give a very accurate view of an App which usually aligns to the view that other more detailed assessments deliver and as such is a reliable overall indicator of an Apps quality.