HANDI have been asked by the Dept of Health to comment on plans for a NHS “App Store” and put some specific question to our community. The following few paragraphs provide some background and context for these questions to which you will find a link below.
It has been proposed that the NHS might develop an “App Store” for patient facing health and care apps.
The closed nature of the apple commercial model means that it is not possible to provide an App Store for apple IOS apps and as it is not currently acceptable to exclude this platform, in practice, it is likely that what can be delivered is an “App Directory” pointing to the relevant App Store.
The purpose of the store is:
- To make it easier for UK citizens to find appropriate health and care apps – Particularly apps that can help people manage long term conditions – By “appropriate” We think what is meant is of good quality, consistent with way health and care is delivered in the UK (England) localised for uk use (i.e. no US date formats, drug names or units likely to confuse UK users)
- To provide a degree of quality assurance probably with a mixture of light-touch certification similar to web certification (like HON www.healthonnet.org and The Information Standard http://www.theinformationstandard.org/about) Plus crowd-sourced ratings and user reviews
- To help app developers promote their apps
In the context of this proposal some thought has been given to defining the types of apps (or maybe functions of apps) and it is suggested that there are three broad classes of apps/functions.
- Informational – An app provides general information in any media format which does not provide personalised advice (although it may be tailored to a particular class of user).
- Monitoring – An app collects information from people related to their health and care and experiences of services (eg personal monitoring - such as monitoring your own weight, exercise and BP, including data collected by near-patient devices and patient-reported measures of outcome, experience, feedback etc.)
- Decision Support – An app which provides personalised guidance based on information it has about a specific individual (eg data entered by them, provided by near-patient devices or obtained via record access) to which it applies some form of automated reasoning (from a simple calculation, a decision support algorithm or some more complex heuristic). These are the types of apps most likely to fall in the scope of the Medical Devices Directive requiring registration with MHRA http://bit.ly/wfKdMn
- Transactional – An app enables a user to carry out a heath and care related transaction. (book and appointment , request a prescription, have a virtual consultation etc.)
It is possible that initially an NHS App store will not deal with all of these types of apps
The Dept of Health are keen to establish if there is the HANDI community perceive value in the creation of such an NHS App Store and if we do any advice or comments we may have to make it as useful as possible.
You will find the questions for completion at