Health Apps

Information for Developers about the Digital Tools Library

Health Apps

Information for Developers about the Digital Tools Library

Developer Portal – Site under construction…

The new NHS Digital Apps Library and Developer portal has been soft launched and is open for feedback as we test these products with users over the coming months. We have launched in this way so each site is introduced in a way which demonstrates clearly that we are testing concepts, design and experience as well as the sites themselves.

We have updated content and are launching a few new pages in the developer portal to test our approach with users directly, and to help inform changes over time. We are actively seeking feedback from developers to help us do that.

The NHS Digital Developer Portal (developer.nhs.uk)

We have had a developer resource, developer.nhs.uk for some time, providing available information and guidance for developers who wish to access national infrastructure, or use national data. To continue to support this aim, we have identified a number of areas we could improve:

  • Provide a single point of reference, where content can be accessed from
  • Provide guidance, or links to relevant information from other parties, especially standards referenced within the NHS Digital – Digital Tools Technical Review Framework
  • Update current documentation to be more relevant, accessible, and consistent
  • Provide a facility to register interest, and receive updates about National Capabilities, developer.nhs.uk, the Digital Tools Library, Technical Review processes, and more…
  • Provide a mechanism to receive feedback about what we provide, and what else would be useful.

The NHS Apps Library

An NHS Digital Apps Library is available on the nhs.uk beta site (apps.beta.nhs.uk). There is currently just a handful of Apps available on these pages, including categories for Mental Health and Diabetes. Over time, these categories will grow and citizens will be able to access an expanding set of assessed Apps that will help them to organise and manage their own health and care. The concept of having tiers of applications is being tested, which includes some apps labelled, ‘being tested in the NHS’ meaning there is a programme gathering evidence on whether the use of these apps improve clinical outcomes. The second tier is, ‘NHS Approved’ which will be reserved for those Apps that have evidenced improved clinical outcomes through the NHS.

The Apps will be presented on the NHS Apps library and on relevant condition pages but will only be downloadable from the usual online stores. The Apps library is based around a robust assessment process (Digital Assessment Questions) designed to set a high standard for developers to adhere to.

Links to other organisations

The level of clinical, technical, and business review required to provide assurance to patients will differ from product to product. NHS Digital works closely with other organisations to provide coverage of review processes depending on the nature of the product.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) provide support to determine if a digital product should be considered as a medical device. The most appropriate guidance for digital tools can be found here.

The Care Quality Commission requires registration of any regulated activities carried out by health and care providers, and this may include an equivalent service provided via digital channels. CQC’s quick reference guide to help determine if this applies to your digital tool.

Patients Trust our Content

The NHS is in the early stages of developing its promotion of Health Apps within the Health and Care environment. On this site we have presented our first views on some criteria that we would look to assess digital tools against. This can be used as a guide to the type of areas that the NHS would be looking to assess against in the future. If you can assess yourselves against these questions and if you feel that you would be able to comply to these, or would be near to complying, then please register your interest in this process. Once the next steps have been defined we will contact you with further information.

You can register your interest as a developer here

You can view the Digital Assessment Questionnaire – Beta here