Our Mobile Health and CLAHRC Northwest London to collaborate on health app assessment through newly-created Digital Health Community

Community aims to improve access to high-quality, evidence-based health applications.

Our Mobile Health and NIHR CLAHRC Northwest London have joined forces to create the Digital Health Community. Our mission is to increase confidence in digital health services by uniting digital experts, health professionals and academics to evaluate the evidence base and quality of mobile health applications. On Monday, January 22nd, 2018, NIHR CLAHRC NWL and Our Mobile Health had a successful launch event where many industry partners, SMEs, academics, and clinicians joined us to learn more about the process.

There are more than 250,000 mHealth apps available on Android and iOS app stores, however, usability and effectiveness for many apps remains unestablished. As such, one of the major barriers to the adoption of digital health services is concerns about quality and lack of evidence to support their use.

In order to realise the vast potential of digital services to improve health outcomes, health professionals and consumers’ confidence in their abilities to do so must be improved. The combination of Our Mobile Health’s rigorous quality assurance process for mHealth apps and the expertise of the CLAHRC in translating research to practice will build trust in mHealth apps as interventions, lead to improvements in quality, and support health professionals to deploy them with confidence.

The Digital Health Community is made up of a diverse group of experts from a range of backgrounds. Community members have access to a closed forum where they can access digital health resources and knowledge, share best practices and learn from each other’s experiences in mHealth app assessment and deployment. The Community will review apps for libraries on behalf of a range of organisations including NIHR, NIHR CLAHRC Programme (consisting of 13 CLAHRCs), NHS England, Public Health England and NHS Digital, as well as for Primary Care.

“Our partnership with Our Mobile Health is providing NIHR CLAHRC NWL with a unique opportunity to work with an industry partner, small to medium size enterprise, to bring research into practice by looking at the effective evaluation of mHealth applications. Currently, this is an exploding market with very little done to monitor their effectiveness. This endeavour is bringing a robust system with review and accreditation to the relevant parties so we can deliver high value products to patients.”                                                                                                                       

  – Ganesh Sathyamoorthy, Assistant Director for Partnerships and Business Development of NIHR CLAHRC NWL.

 “Four year randomized control trials are not necessarily suitable for a digital environment; one of the advantages of working with the CLAHRCs is for their expertise in accelerating research into action. Together, we have set up a Digital Health Community to bring together organisations looking to make digital health solutions, with evaluators such as researchers, academics, and clinicians, in order to build trust and confidence in health apps that have a sound evidence-base. The Our Mobile Health process is very much aligned to the NHS process, it involves a rigorous self-assessment question set – covering topics such as technical stability of an app, information governance, privacy and security, etc., – it is completed by the developers and then further reviewed by independent experts in detail.”                                               

     – Julie Bretland, Founder and CEO of Our Mobile Health.

We welcome new members of the Community who share our passion and want to join our network to deepen their knowledge of digital health and get involved in reviewing and assessing apps. You can register via the Our Mobile Health website where more information is available about the benefits of becoming an app reviewer and the key requirements.