Apps

Information for Developers about the Apps Library (Beta)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the NHS Apps Library?

The current NHS Apps Library is a beta site. The library holds a list of health apps that may be graded/ badged in some way. The apps will be monitored for functional changes and grouped in categories that reflect their overall function (e.g. mental health, diabetes).

The site will develop and grow over the next 12-18months.

What is the process for getting an app assessed and on the NHS Apps Library?

In order to drive and maintain a high-quality offering of products on the NHS Apps Library we have a Digital Assessment Questionnaire and review process that enables developers to provide information and evidence against relevant national standards and best practices.

The digital assessment questionnaire and assessment review process is being tested via this beta site to enable a collaboration environment for developers, healthcare professionals and patients. This supports us in the development of a fit-for-purpose process that is efficient and effective.

This beta site gives you an idea of the assessment questions you will need to consider. The number of assessment questions you will need to answer will depend on the nature of your application.

For example: Will your app connect to NHS data? Is there an element of clinical risk related to in-app calculations?

If you have an existing app currently in public use and you feel that it is ready to pass through the Digital Assessment Questions, please Submit your app to begin the process.

What are the standards, rules and regulations for digital health tools?

We are currently re-working this information to make it more focused and relevant to mobile app development. For the current version please scroll down the page and follow the links.

How long will the assessment take?

The current timeframe is three to four weeks but this could change once all assessment factors are taken into account.

Some apps may involve more detailed assessment. For example, an application that requires NHS data will take longer to assess than an application that works independently.

What about funding for apps?

NHS Digital do not currently provide funding for apps.  The digital assessment process is aimed at assessing and sharing digital health apps that are already used in the public domain.  Our overall aim is to tap into existing innovation in the marketplace and assess the suitability of existing apps for inclusion in the NHS Apps Library. You can find out more about commissioning at https://www.england.nhs.uk/commissioning

 

Can all apps be made available on Windows 10?

The developer decides on the platforms which their apps will work on. This may depend on their experience of Android, iOS or Windows. Each provider could be asked to consider the possibility of multi-platform availability but this cannot be enforced.

Do you have a co-working space or developer user group?

We are currently improving the developer guidance information to meet the needs of developers. As a part of this process, we want to encourage the development of a user group for health apps developers.

Are you going to create a library of digital health apps for health professionals as well as one for patients?

The current plan is to create a library that can be used by both healthcare professionals and patients.

Can the assessment framework measure the effectiveness of a health app we want to use?

The public values the high standards associated with the NHS. We want to ensure that all products associated with the NHS live up to those standards. The assessment framework will control health apps into a library of products which adhere to the high standard of quality, safety and effectiveness required.

The assessment may involve many NHS bodies/ partners so it is not exportable as a “stand alone” assessment. The existence of the library itself means individuals will not need to run their own assessment.

The effectiveness of an app will be determined as part of the assessment process; however, it has not been decided whether detailed judgements on effectiveness will be made available in detail.

Will apps on the library be free at the point of use?

As they have been developed by private companies, they may have a charge. Apps developed by Public Health England and the NHS do not have a cost to citizens.

How do we publicise our app?

The NHS Apps Library can be found at apps.beta.nhs.uk. Many of the apps will be accessed by patients when viewing the condition-related content pages of NHS Choices.

Can we meet to talk with you in more detail about our digital tool or health application?

NHS Digital is working quickly to improve the process by which developers can get their apps onto the library as part of the beta site. In the meantime we advise you to look at the digital assessment questions (https://developer.nhs.uk/daq/) and the guidance for developers on https://developer.nhs.uk/apps/ and register your interest on the site.

If you have an existing app currently in public use and you feel that it is ready to pass through the Digital Assessment Questions, please Submit your app to begin the process.

Our application is already NHS approved. Can we be included on your site?

The assessment process involves all relevant NHS bodies, thereby providing a national assessment framework.

All health apps that make it to the NHS Apps Library must be assessed equally and thoroughly through the framework. If your app has already been given some form of NHS approval (or some level of endorsement or review) this may be considered by the relevant NHS body that previously reviewed your app.

This includes:

  • NHS assessment
  • approval from an NHS body
  • local NHS approval
  • CQC approval
  • approved under the old NHS Choices app library
  • endorsed by the NHS
How can I develop an app that can be considered for the NHS Apps Library?

We have developed a collection of standards and guidance information to help you develop apps which meet the principles of quality which we have applied to digital products. This means the apps will meet what we consider to be good quality digital standards for safety, experience and effectiveness. The site will develop during 2017.