NHS England launches dedicated space for developers

As part of a new healthcare app initiative, NHS England has launched a dedicated online space for developers alongside a library to discover approved software.

The new space for developers can be found here and provides access to appropriate health-related data, tools, and a testing facility for apps. Features which enable validation and authorisation are in the pipeline and will be added soon.

“Our vision is to transform the way people experience the NHS, by designing digital health tools and services that connect them to the information and services they need, when they need them,” says Juliet Bauer, Director of Digital Experience at NHS England, and Rachel Murphy, delivery director at NHS Digital.

“We want to enable people to access care in a convenient and coordinated way, through the digital tools that all of us are now familiar with in other areas of our lives.”

NHS England plans to work alongside commissioners and developers over the next six months to assess how to safely connect apps with health records to improve their capabilities and help patients; while retaining their privacy.

18 months ago the organisation shut down its Health Apps Library following a study by Imperial College London who identified apps which fell short of the required standard and left systematic gaps in compliance with data protection.

With the launch of the Digital Tools Library, currently in beta, a replacement for the now defunct Health Apps Library has been made available which aims to overcome the shortcomings of its predecessor. Current apps include; Silver Cloud for helping to manage anxiety, OWise to keep track of treatment for breast cancer, and BMI calculator to measure and track body mass.

“Our work is iterative and based on user needs,” continues Bauer and Murphy. “We need to understand how people interact with the tools available to them; what they find complicated; or what they are willing to use and gain benefit from.”

“It’s important that we do this right and so everything we have launched today is being done to allow a thorough live testing period and we will be gathering feedback from users through an inbuilt capability on each of the platforms.”

What are your thoughts on NHS England’s developer outreach? Let us know in the comments.

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