Most Healthcare Apps Not Fit for Patients

A firm that reviews healthcare apps for several NHS trusts says 80% of them do not meet its standards.

Failings include poor information, lack of security updates and insufficient awareness of regulatory requirements, said Orcha chief executive Liz Ashall-Payne.

The firm's reviews help determine whether an app should be recommended to patients by NHS staff.

There are about 370,000 health-related apps available online, Orcha said.

App developers can categorize their apps themselves and the ones reviewed by the firm include those tagged health, fitness and medical.

So far, the firm has reviewed nearly 5,000 apps and found many poor examples, including:

A diabetes management app offering complex medical support without any back-up from experts

A physiotherapy app offering exercise plans without any visible input from professionals

An app to help smokers quit, which had not had security updates in more than two years

Apple and Google have their own review process for allowing apps on their stores in the first place.

Apple also says apps that claim to take X-rays or measure things like blood sugar levels using data taken by the sensors on the device are banned.

Dr Jermaine Ravalier, from Bath Spa University, worked on an app aimed at helping NHS workers tackle mental health issues.

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