There are many ways we can all take steps to support our own health and well-being, and there’s often a digital application (app) available to help manage health conditions or our keep our general health on track. However, with so many apps available, finding one that suits you can sometimes be a challenge.
To help navigate the apps available, Hywel Dda University Health Board is working with ORCHA (the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps) and is the first health board in Wales to launch a Health and Care Application Library that contains hundreds of independently reviewed apps.
Anthony Tracey, Digital Director at Hywel Dda University Health Board, explains: “With over 375,000 health apps available across the various app stores – covering everything from healthy eating recipes to jogging apps, and ones that monitor heart rhythms or provide mental health support, knowing which ones are trustworthy and effective can sometimes be tricky.
“As a health board, we have partnered with ORCHA to develop a library of health and care applications that have undergone independent review. The ORCHA team, which includes actively practicing clinicians, accredit health apps against several stringent criteria in areas such as clinical/professional assurance, data and privacy, usability, and accessibility; giving each app an easy-to-understand percentage score that will help you decide whether to download it or not.”
Dr Meinir Jones, Associate Medical Director Value Based Health Care and CCIO Hywel Dda, adds: “Not only is the library useful to patients across our communities in signposting people to the best apps to support their health and wellbeing, it is also a resource for our doctors – meaning that our teams have the ability to recommend apps during consultations, and share recommendations with patients.
“Our team at Hywel Dda has worked with ORCHA to ensure the library truly lives up to the four key principles of our clinical strategy of being safe, sustainable, accessible, and kind. Safe in that the apps have been tested and comply with the necessary data standards; sustainable as there are mechanisms to ensure that all apps are kept up to date helping to decrease the risk of cyber-attacks; accessible as apps are low cost or free, and consider digital literacy; and kind as they support us in empowering our patients to self-manage their health.”
Huw Thomas, Director of Finance at Hywel Dda University Health Board, adds: “We’re delighted to launch this new digital library as an additional layer of support for our patients. This is not a replacement for any of our services but is intended to complement them, and can help us to not only treat illness, but promote wellbeing.”
The new Health and Care Apps Library is available on the health board’s website at https://hduhb.nhs.wales/digital/appslibrary If you have any feedback on the applications, or the library, please use the feedback form available on the application library website and share your views.