Applying the ORCHA-24 framework to evaluate apps for chronic insomnia disorder

Applying the ORCHA-24 framework to evaluate apps for chronic insomnia disorder

BACKGROUND: Mobile-health offers many opportunities, however the ‘side-effects’ of health-apps are often unclear. With no guarantee health-apps first do no harm, their role as a viable, safe, and effective therapeutic option is limited.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the quality of apps for chronic insomnia disorder, available on the Android Google Play Store, and determine whether a novel approach to app-assessment could identify high quality and low risk health-apps in the absence of indicators such as NHS-approval.

METHODS: The ORCHA-24, 24 app-assessment criteria concerning data privacy, clinical efficacy, and user experience, answered on a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, evidence-driven basis; was applied to assess 18 insomnia apps identified via the Android Google Play Store, in addition to the NHS-approved iOS app Sleepio™.

FINDINGS: 63.2% of apps (12/19) provided a privacy policy, with seven (36.8%) stating no user data would be shared without explicit consent. 10.5% (2/19) stated they had been shown to be of benefit to those with insomnia, with CBT apps outperforming hypnosis and meditation apps (p=0.046). Both the number of app downloads(p=0.29), and user-review scores (p=0.23) were unrelated to ORCHA-24 scores. The NHS-approved app Sleepio™, consistently outperformed non-accredited apps across all domains of the ORCHA-24.

CONCLUSION: Apps for chronic insomnia disorder exhibit substantial variation in adherence to published data privacy, user experience, and clinical efficacy standards; which are not clearly correlated with app downloads or user-review scores.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: In absence of formal app accreditation, the ORCHA-24 could feasibly be used to highlight the risk-benefit profiles of health-apps prior to downloading.

Read the full paper below:


Effective? Engaging? Secure? Applying the ORCHA-24 framework to evaluate apps for chronic insomnia disorder

ORCHA and Lancashire Evaluation – Phase 1 Pilot Report

ORCHA and Lancashire Evaluation – Phase 1 Pilot Report

Lancashire Evaluation Report Summary

Phase 1 effectively went live in January 2017. Although the platform was live before this, this was still in the early testing phase and initial project mobilisation period and as such the platform wasn’t truly active.

Between January to July 2017, the platform:

  • Attracted over 3,000 visits. With average visitor numbers moving towards 1,000 visits per month in June 2017.

This resulted in:

  • Over 1400 App searches being undertaken
  • 110 Professional and Patient user registrations with a final quarter average of 27 registrations per month and
  • 88 App recommendations

The Phase 1 pilot identified a huge number of lessons learnt as we hoped it would and has led to a significant shift in user acquisition and conversion strategies alongside significant improvements in the overall platform features and performance.

We approach Phase 2 armed with a substantial array of tangible initiatives that we are confident will significantly accelerate the wider adoption and dissemination of the platform and the consequential wider digital activation of the Lancashire and South Cumbria clinical teams and population.

Read the full report below:


Lancashire ORCHA - Phase 1 Pilot - Evaluation

Digital Healthy Schools Evaluation

Digital Healthy Schools Evaluation

Digital Healthy Schools Evaluation Summary

Nine-in-ten children in the UK now own a mobile phone [1], and increasing evidence is supporting the use of health-applications (apps) as a tool to improve health outcomes [2-5]. There is currently an unmet need to develop different models of healthcare delivery for a new digitally active generation; one that embeds a pro-active approach to looking after your own health from an early age. Given the recent engagement in exercise-promoting gamified technologies including Pokémon GO [6], digital solutions may offer a different and more accessible route into tackling areas of concern within children’s health, including diet and exercise, sexual and mental health [7].

Recent findings from the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA), a trade body representative of global mobile operators, suggest that of the nine-in-ten children who own a mobile phone [1], approximately 80% (of those aged 8-18) will be the owner of a brand-new handset [8]. Given the wide scale availability, low cost, and market-growth experienced by health-applications (apps), the question arises as to whether this infant therapeutic medium could be put to good effect, among those in whom digital engagement is already at its peak.

With over 300,000 health-apps available globally [9], the possibilities presented by high levels of digital engagement among children, including harnessing apps to improve health outcomes, are considerable. What is unclear however, is whether this infant and largely untested and un-validated technology, can be used in a manner which is not only effective and engaging, but also safe for use by children. Much like information found on the internet, the quality of health apps is largely unclear, with a number having the potential to result in more harm than good. As such, it is vital that before children embrace this technology, there is first and foremost, a means of safeguarding potential users and highlighting the potential risks and benefits of health-apps, such that informed decisions can be made.

Read the full report below:



App Zone at the International Technology Enabled Care Conference!

App Zone at the International Technology Enabled Care Conference!

You may already know, but we’re delighted to say we’ve been asked to host the App Zone at this year’s TSA International Technology Enabled Care Conference again.

It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase the very best in mHealth solutions, at a conference of peers, users and potential consumers, and it’s shaping up to be the best year yet.

Being part of the App Zone means that for £500 you can have a stand for two days, engage with the conference, and present your app as well.

In order to support you, we will also include an app review worth £189+vat as part of the same package (the information’s all here

Spaces are going fast, so if you want to be involved get in touch with Andy at asap; it’s first come first served!

Options available to NHS patients when choosing apps

Options available to NHS patients when choosing apps

In a new blog post, Trustech investigate the options available to NHS patients, when looking for the right app to help manage their condition.

As Trustech explain:

Patients now have access to a large number of apps to manage or monitor their health.  However, whilst some apps have been developed by clinicians who have ensured that the app is effective and safe; others have not been developed so rigorously.  Hence, patients need a way of identifying those apps that are fit for purpose and don’t expose them to unnecessary risk.

Some of the options for patients to find apps, as explained by Trustech, are through us at ORCHA, the NHS Apps Library (which is still in beta) and My Therappy, which is aimed at stroke and brain injury recovery and rehabilitation.

Read the full article at

Digital Attitudes Survey North West London

Digital Attitudes Survey North West London

Digital Attitudes Survey – Introduction


The North West London (NWL) Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and the Healthy London Partnership (HLP) went out to tender in early 2017 jointly seeking a supplier to work with them to develop a survey that would inform an evidence base that will support their plans for improved delivery, and uptake, of existing and new digital health services.

The aim of this project was to develop a survey that would support the NWL collaboration in gaining a high level understanding of their citizen’s needs, motivations and behaviours with regards to digital health tools and services. To achieve the goal of building an effective Digital Strategy for their citizens, the project brief requested support from expert partners to develop a mechanism for gathering evidence on:


  • the factors that drive and sustain digital utilisation for targeted populations
  • the features that enable people to become, and stay, connected with the NHS
  • and the benefits of digital health tools
  • key diversity needs specific to London to deliver the digital inclusion agenda
  • how to improve citizen experience and outcomes
  • how to improve service delivery efficiencies for the NHS


ORCHA – NWL – Digital Attitudes – 21.6.17

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