Derbyshire County Council has set up a library of health apps as part of a project to embed them and other online tools into its services.
It has assessed the quality of the apps with the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA) to form part of its healthy lifestyles service Live Life Better Derbyshire.
It has provided access to the library on its website and purchased 100 ORCHA Pro Accounts for staff members, enabling them to directly recommend apps, via text and email, to their clients.
Derbyshire’s director of public health, Dean Wallace, said: “Derbyshire has always been proactive when it comes to public health and we see huge benefits coming from health apps.
“While Derbyshire County Council commissions a diverse range of accessible public health services, digital health apps can provide information and support when traditional support services may not be available.
“Lockdown could prove detrimental to some people’s health. Especially people who may have problems with drinking or smoking.
“Being able to recommend an app if they are unwilling, or unable, to use our services could offer significant benefits to their health and wellbeing.
“We are taking it slowly but we want digital health to become another health and wellbeing tool, and to help normalise its use for people.”
The library provides access to around 1,000 apps under five headings: child health, healthy living, sexual health, mental health and suicide prevention. A spokesperson for ORCHA said the number is likely to grow as more become available.
Former NHS clinician and founding CEO of ORCHA, Liz Ashall-Payne, said: “There are lots of apps and online tools that promise to help with your health and wellbeing however it can be difficult to know which ones to trust when you are browsing through Google Play or Apple app stores.
“The app library we have built with the Derbyshire team will open up the widest possible range of top quality tools, each of which has been rigorously reviewed against 350 tough standards, including elements of the NICE framework.”
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