Myth 4 We have SOOOO many health apps……..right???

Myth 4 We have SOOOO many health apps……..right???


Everyone talks about how many apps we have to help us to stay healthy and well, or to manage our health, and how the number of apps available has grown from 30,000 in 2013 to a whopping 327,000 as of today, BUT this isn’t really a true picture.

I can hear you asking WHY…….

Well if we take the 327,000 apps and first of all ask how many of these are ACTUALLY active, meaning how many are looked after, updated and kept fresh – the answer is only 112,000.

OK, so we have 112,000 health apps, so that’s still a lot…..isn’t it?

Wrong again!  If you now look at those apps, and apply a layer of evaluation, looking at whether the app is data secure, clinically safe or has met design standards, you will find only 10-15% pass, which means we are now at 15,000 health apps.

So, is this enough? 15,000 is still a large enough number……..right?


Let me explain, if there are 400 clinical condition areas and you have 1 app for each in both app stores, apple and google, you need 800.

You then add in some different dimensions of personal needs and characteristics like

Age, Gender, Visual, hearing or cognitive impairment

Add in another layer of personal preferences:

I want an app with a social network, I want an app which teaches me more about my condition, I cant pay for an app, I want an app which has games in it, I want it to work with my fitbit, garmin, alexa…..hopefully you get the picture……….lots of dimensions.

Well here at ORCHA we have worked out that if we want to help our populations find great apps across this range of needs and preferences we need around 30,000…………..and we only have half of that!

So the reality is we do not have enough great health apps, we need MORE innovation, we need these innovations to be of high quality and we need to help people get access to them.

This week it is the wonderful NHS Innovation EXPO, we are really excited to share how we are supporting over 15million people to find great health apps. We are also really keen to meet new innovations and organisations who want to use great apps!

If you have time, pop over and have a chat with the ORCHA team, we are in the innovation zone and are ready to meet you!

ORCHA approved as a Government Supplier on G-Cloud 10

ORCHA approved as a Government Supplier on G-Cloud 10

Government Purchasing Framework Approves Health App Services

We are delighted to announce that ORCHA services have now been approved on the Government’s G-Cloud 10 portal. This means any central government, local council, NHS Trust or public-sector body can purchase ORCHA services and be assured to receive pre-approved commercial arrangements that represent quality and offer value for money.

ORCHA Services on G-Cloud that will help public sector organisations to safely unlock the potential Health Apps offer include:

Local engagement microsites  – To drive uptake of health apps and target specific communities in your region, we provide locally branded and tailored microsites featuring a library of evaluated apps that meet the health challenges and demographics in your region.

Pro Account App Prescription service – To help bring health apps safely into practice, we’ve developed a tool to enable health and care professionals to prescribe health apps. More than 60% of recipients act on an App recommendation from a pro. This service helps you to unlock this potential.

Please find ORCHA on the G-Cloud at

ORCHA Wins Chamber of Commerce Award

ORCHA Wins Chamber of Commerce Award

We are delighted to announce that Liz Ashall-Payne, CEO, ORCHA, was named Entrepreneur of the Year, in the Halton Chamber of Commerce & Enterprise 2018 Awards.

The judges assessed organisations from across the region, looking for high levels of growth, strong financial performance and innovation.

Under Liz’s management, ORCHA has grown from an innovative health concept to its current position as the world leader in health and care app assessments.  From Daresbury Science Park, the team drive standards and help NHS and care organisations across the world to capitalise on the power digital health apps have to offer.

Liz Ashall Payne said “the work the Chamber does is so important, giving a voice to the varied businesses in our region.  I am proud that ORCHA was selected from amongst very tough competition to win this award.”

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!


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ORCHA team up with the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine

ORCHA team up with the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine

We have teamed up with the British Society for Lifestyle Medicine (BSLM) to provide an online platform for members to prescribe ‘apps’ to patients.

In their recent newsletter, Dr Sohaib Imtiaz MPH, wrote:

Digital health is advancing rapidly and patients are increasingly engaging with apps and using their smartphones to stay healthy. A health professional can’t be present all the time for patients and apps help empower patients to take charge of their own health. Many apps use the principles of gamification, tracking and health promotion to enable patients to become healthier which over time enables behaviour change. ORCHA has created a search engine for reviewed health apps that have been rated by their team after going through a robust process. The search engine allows you to search for an app based on keywords and demographic details with results featuring apps with different ratings for clinical effectiveness, data security and the pro and cons. ORCHA has produced, which is tailored for the BSLM with a consistent theme and a focus on apps geared towards lifestyle medicine.

Signing up for a pro account allows you to ‘prescribe’ apps to your patients by sending a ‘link’ via messaging such as text or e-mail. Preventative medicine is going to increasingly rely on Digital therapeutics to help people stay healthy. Increasingly patients will want digital solutions and the ORCHA platform allows you to have a validated method of suggesting the best apps for there concerns. As the digital innovation director and an advocate of technology I am excited about the potential this collaboration could bring for promoting lifestyle medicine. If you’re interested in signing up for a pro account, e-mail in order to set it up.

Great to be working with the team at BSLM!


Two innovative NW health organisations selected for national NHS support

Two innovative NW health organisations selected for national NHS support

Two innovative health products developed in Merseyside and Cheshire are among 11 selected to join the prestigious NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA).

The Accelerator is run by NHS England in partnership with Academic Health Science Networks – including the Innovation Agency, the AHSN for the North West Coast. The programme accelerates the uptake of high impact products throughout the NHS, providing a vital boost for innovators.

ORCHA provides a health app finder platform for health organisations and individuals, allowing easy and clear access to verified apps. The company began in Liverpool and recently moved to Sci-Tech Daresbury, near Warrington.

ORCHA Chief Executive Liz Ashall-Payne said: “We are delighted to be part of the National Innovation Accelerator and are excited to be able to scale up our work to deliver more health benefits across England.”

Also new to the Accelerator is Liverpool-based Damibu with their app CATCH – Common Approach To Children’s Health. This has been supported by the Innovation Agency, who are funding its use in maternity and children’s services in Cheshire and Merseyside.

The CATCH app gives parents appropriate and understandable information when they need it, via smartphone or tablet. Avoiding the inappropriate use of NHS services when self-care would be more appropriate.

Damibu Chief Executive Dave Burrows said: “The Damibu team are really excited about the possibilities that joining the NIA family has to offer.  Damibu is already known within the North West for its health innovations, as shown by the NHS North West Excellence in Supply Award we won last month.

“Being selected for the NIA gives us a springboard to spread our innovations nationally.  We intend to make the most of this unique opportunity.”

The Innovation Agency has supported both Damibu and Orcha to spread their innovations in the North West Coast. Innovation Agency Chief Executive Dr Liz Mear said: “I am absolutely delighted that two innovators in our region have been selected for this prestigious NHS programme. We have been supporting their teams for some time and I’m proud that we’ve been able to help them reach this stage; I’m sure they will now experience a boost in the spread of their innovations.”

Since it launched in July 2015, the NIA has supported the uptake and spread of 25 high-impact, evidence-based innovations across 799 NHS organisations.

Each of the new innovations joining the NIA in 2017 offer solutions to key challenges in primary care, urgent and emergency care and mental health. Their selection follows an international and robust selection process, including review by a collegiate of over 100 assessors and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive said: “Modern medicine is on the cusp of a huge shift in how care is delivered, and practical innovations like these show how NHS patients will now directly benefit. More tests and patient monitoring will be done at home or on the move, without the need to pitch up to a doctor’s appointment or hospital outpatients.”

Ian Dodge, National Director for Strategy and Innovation at NHS England, said: “Since it started, the NHS Innovation Accelerator has continued to deliver for patients and the taxpayer. It’s just one of the ways that the NHS is getting its act together to provide practical help for innovators with the best ideas. From a small investment, we are already seeing very big benefits – safer care for patients, better value for taxpayers, new jobs created and export wins.”

The 11 innovations selected to join the NIA in 2017 are:

  • CATCH – Common Approach To Children’s Health: Addressing the inappropriate use of NHS services when self-care would be more appropriate, the CATCH app gives parents appropriate and understandable information when they need and want it, via smartphone or tablet.
  • ORCHA: ORCHA or Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Applications, works with CCGs and providers to develop health app portals, allowing professionals easy and clear access to a verified resource. This enables them to enhance services and outcomes by finding and recommending the best apps to patients
  • App which turns a smartphone into a clinical device, providing patients with clinically accurate urine analysis from home in a matter of minutes
  • ESCAPE-pain: ‘Enabling Self-management and Coping of Arthritic Pain through Exercise’ or ESCAPE-pain, is a six-week group programme delivered to people aged 45+ with Osteoarthritis (OA).
  • FREED: The FREED ‘first episode rapid early intervention service for eating disorders’ model of care provides a rapid early response intervention for young people aged 16 to 25 years with short (three years or less) first episode illness duration.
  • Home monitoring of hypertension in pregnancy (HaMpton): New care pathway involving the use of an app for monitoring high blood pressure at home, empowering expectant mothers to be involved in their own care.
  • Lantum: A cloud-based tool built to help NHS Providers fill empty shifts in clinical rotas.
  • My Diabetes My Way: Low-cost, scalable, comprehensive online self-management platform for people with diabetes.
  • Oviva Diabetes Support: A fully remote, technology-enabled programme of type 2 diabetes structured education, combining 1-to-1 support from a registered dietitian with evidence-based online educational materials and use of the Oviva app to support behaviour change.
  • RespiraSense: The world’s first continuous respiratory rate monitor, enabling medical teams the ability to detect signs of patient deterioration 12 hours earlier than the standard of care.
  • WaitLess: Free, patient-facing app which shows patients the fastest place to access urgent care services for minor conditions.


For more information about the NIA, visit

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