A 'kite mark' for health apps

How do you encourage the uptake of apps by healthcare professionals? IE is working with PHE to create a ‘quality stamp’ for apps.

There is no shortage of mobile apps that claim to offer benefit to personal health and wellbeing. In fact, the problem is that there are too many – well over 100,000. They can't possibly all be brilliant.

The question is: which work and which don't?

Since last summer, IE has been working alongside Public Health England (PHE) to put an NHS ‘kitemark’ in place for endorsing healthcare apps.

As part of Workstream 2 of the National Information Board (NIB), the project is all about encouraging the uptake of apps by healthcare professionals – something that’s not happening at the moment because of consistently low levels of healthcare professional confidence in apps. The new system will clearly identify apps that are beneficial to public health and the healthcare system and these will be given a ‘quality stamp’, freeing healthcare professionals to recommend them to patients with confidence. The overarching workstream has the objective to save £20bn from the healthcare budget in five years.

PHE first engaged IE as part of the Discovery phase. Next, we were commissioned to to run the Alpha and Beta design and build process for the scheme. Our work is ongoing and has included to date:

  • Digital consultancy to shape what the process would look like and the scoring criteria PHE would use to assess the quality of an app
  • Running co-creation workshops with key stakeholders including MHRA, HSCIC, NHS England & NICE
  • Designed and built the online self-assessment forms that app developers need to complete
  • Built a web-based demo system, which has been used at conferences to gain industry feedback
  • Rapid prototyping and user testing sessions to obtain feedback on the workflow, signposting and messaging aspects of the system
  • Completed the Beta service for the self-assessment stage of the process

Now, we’re working on the initial Alpha phase for the next stage, where the ‘expert community’ is engaged to validate and challenge apps that have passed the self-assessment process.

The whole process has been commissioned through the G-Cloud government procurement framework and follows the Government Digital Service (GDS) Design Principles.

IE's other recent healthcare and eGovernment projects include apps for Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, CLIC Sargent and CW+ (the Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity). It's a technical, growing and rapidly changing environment, which we've been involved in for a number of years.

If you've got an idea for an app or a challenge that might have digital as part of the solution please do get in touch.