Survey finds majority support for digital health apps in the NHS, but concerns remain

Alarming findings reveal that users neglect to check clinical credentials and privacy policies. To address this, ORCHA launches Think SAFE campaign for informed app choices.

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A recent survey conducted by the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA) reveals that 68% of respondents believe that digital health apps should be incorporated into the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK.

The survey also highlights a significant increase in general practitioners (GPs) recommending digital health apps to their patients. GPs in London were found to recommend health apps more than those in other regions. Furthermore, 47% of the survey participants stated they already used a health app.

However, the study uncovers alarming statistics, indicating that users often overlook important considerations such as clinical credentials and privacy policies when selecting health apps. Instead, 30% relied on consumer reviews on app stores for protection, which is not a reliable indicator of app quality. Dr Simon Leigh, ORCHA’s research director, emphasized the importance of proper scrutiny and compared the lack of caution to buying unapproved pills without proper regulation.

To address these concerns, ORCHA is launching a consumer campaign called Think SAFE to guide individuals in making safe and informed choices when downloading health apps. ORCHA previously introduced the country’s first Digital Health Formulary, allowing healthcare professionals to prescribe more complex apps safely and integrate them into patient record systems.