A Digital Supplement for Eating Disorder Service

A Digital Supplement for Eating Disorder Service

An estimated 89,600 people across Lancashire have an eating disorder and this figure is growing by 7% each year.  With no single cause, these complex mental health conditions include bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and anorexia nervosa, and can affect men and women of all ages.

Eating disorders can severely affect the quality of life of the sufferer and those that care for them and can shorten a person’s life.  But with the right care, people can recover.

To provide the right support, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust provides an eating disorder service, run from clinics across the region.  The team includes specialist nurses, psychologists, dietitians, and therapists, offering a wide range of care.

The team hadn’t consistently used digital solutions as part of therapy, but saw that patients were increasingly on digital media.  When the Trust provided its staff with access to the ORCHA platform, the eating disorder team immediately saw the potential and now prescribes health apps to supplement and enhance its therapy.

Dr Hannah Wilson, Clinical Psychologist, explains:

The ORCHA platform includes in-depth evaluations of health apps, enabling the team to find safe and effective apps to help a patient, and the tools to prescribe them.  Before ORCHA I would have to spend at least a week using an app myself, to be clear on what I am asking of a client, and whilst I still now take a look, I don’t need to take as long and feel reassured it has been reviewed against the criteria that matter. I can’t try out the thousands of apps out there and so it’s good to know that work has been done for me.

Also when a client shows me an app they have found, I check its ORCHA review and so can advise if they should continue to use it or if there is a more effective app for their need.

One app the team have found particularly useful is Recovery Record. With meal logs, meal plans, coping skills, secure messages, data & charts, it provides valuable support to the patient, whilst building useful behaviour information to review during appointments.

The team also prescribe Mindfulness apps such as Happier.  Although they are not specific to an eating disorder, the app can be used to lift a patient’s mood, meditate, or capture happy moments; which can all help patients to stay positive.

On the contribution apps make to the practice, Dr Wilson explains:

For me, eating disorders are complex. An app by itself is unlikely to be enough to enable a patient to recover, but I have found that they support, supplement and back up sessions. The apps enable patients to receive some support between appointments.

For example, they help people to more accurately monitor what we have asked them to, be it their mood or what they’ve eaten.  People carry their phone everywhere and so are much more likely to simply and discretely make a note, rather than pull a piece of paper that could be spotted by others or lost.  Apps can also provide a source of motivation to help patients keep to their treatment plans.  Some also provide real practical assistance with meal planning.

Our clients of all ages use apps every day.  If we can become part of that world, we can become more effective and sustainable.  Apps also provide a great tool for patients to use long after they have been discharged from our service, to help maintain their progress and stay well.

Source:  https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/media-centre/eating-disorder-statistics

Making it even easier to find good health apps.

Making it even easier to find good health apps.

Home to the world’s only comparison site of health apps, we are passionate about helping patients and professionals find and compare health apps against a range of criteria including data security, clinical safety, and usability.

On behalf of NHS, Educational and Corporate organisations across the UK and Europe, we review more apps than anyone else, checking against more than 140 criteria and create local targeted app libraries which drive user and professional uptake of the best apps on the market. Up until now we have published the results of all reviews on our site, highlighting how an app rates against this criteria, giving an overall score and providing the review details behind this.

After listening to our clients along with feedback from clinical and medical professionals we have created an improved offer which aims to drive even easier access to the best health apps on the market.

So what is different?

For Apps that are classified as  a level 4 (meaning the highest Level of complexity and therefore hold a greater clinical safety risk), we have introduced minimum compliance criteria. Such Apps will now have to demonstrate a suitably qualified professional or body behind the App and evidence of the App’s effectiveness in suitable studies or trials. All Apps which fall into this classification AND that fail to meet this minimum criteria will be excluded from all ORCHA platforms, meaning people, patients and professionals will only be able to find, download and recommend the best.

Talking of the change, Liz Ashall Payne said: “We help both the NHS and organisations supporting health and wellbeing, to successfully integrate safe and effective health apps into their services.  We also advise developers on the stringent requirements needed within the health and care market, to help support the creation of revolutionary apps. We think this change will make health app choices even clearer for patients.”

If you want to learn more please get in touch!

Email Hello@orcha.co.uk

Follow us on Twitter @ORCHAuk

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