Which digital for mental health recovery action plans?


Which digital for mental health recovery action plans?

With mounting evidence that mental health problems have become even more prevalent since the pandemic, in the UK, the government has developed a Mental Health Recovery Action plan. Backed by £500 million, it aims to respond to escalating mental health issues, specifically targeting groups that have been most impacted including those with severe mental illness, young people, and frontline staff.

During lockdown, services turned to digital, switching from in-person help to a range of digital services, such as patient-to-clinician platforms, digitally-enabled treatments, mental health and wellbeing apps, chatbots, and social support networks.

As services deliver against the mental health recovery action plan and COVID-19 restrictions lift, we ask: what is the role of digital now?

Click on the PDF icon below to download our report, and discover:

  • Which patients prefer online support, advice, and counseling?
  • Search volumes across mental health categories, including a 2483% rise for mindfulness apps.
  • Why do only 32% of digital health for mental health meet quality thresholds? In which areas does this figure drop even further?
  • 5 examples of mental health apps that meet standards.
  • What should mental health recovery action plans include?

If you are experiencing any issues with downloading the report, or want to know more, please get in touch with us at hello@orchahealth.com.

Digital health for cancer services: Report


Digital health for cancer services: Report

A reported 40,000 fewer people started cancer treatment in 2020 due to COVID-19. As a result, for years to come, cancer services will need to diagnose and treat substantially more people, with many requiring urgent care.

Throughout the pandemic, healthcare teams adopted new technologies to ensure as many patients as possible could get the care they need. Digital health offers a wealth of features such as patient-reported outcome collection, remote monitoring, and self-management in real-time. There is growing evidence of the benefit of integrating digital into routine supportive care in oncology practice to provide improved patient-centered care. So to extend support again now, digital health should continue to be part of the solution.

ORCHA helps NHS services and leading cancer charities to make informed decisions on digital health, ensuring vital standards are met.

Click on the PDF icon below to download the Digital Health for Cancer Services Report, and discover:

  • How is digital being used in oncology now?
  • Why do only 24.7% of digital health for cancer meet quality thresholds?
  • 5 of ORCHA’s 50 listed health apps for cancer
  • What’s next?

If you are experiencing any issues with downloading the report, or want to know more, please get in touch with us at hello@orchahealth.com.

365 days since lockdown


365 Days Since Lockdown

Milestones in digital health since 16 March 2020

“Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact and travel.” The year that followed the Prime Minister’s decision to place the UK in lockdown measures has transformed the role of digital health in our lives and NHS services.

There has been an explosion in the demand for digital health. Five million health apps are downloaded every day. But as 80% do not meet NHS standards, over the past 12 months around 1.5bn apps that do not meet standards have been downloaded. 

The past year has also seen the rapid launch of new apps and the advancement of much-needed tools, especially when remote care was needed. For example, there are now more than 750 apps to help inform, track, or gather COVID-19 data,1 more than 858,000 people downloaded the Couch to 5K app in 2Q20 – a 92% increase over 2019.2 The world’s 10 largest English-language mental wellness apps saw 10 million downloads in April 2020,3 and who didn’t appreciate Matthew McConaughey and Harry Styles’ collaboration with the Calm meditation app?

To help people access safe and reliable apps remotely, within 38 days of lockdown, ORCHA launched its free COVID-19 App Library available to all NHS and care staff. The NHS also rapidly stepped in to embed safe app libraries into services. An ORCHA App Library was part of the national COVID-19 response in Northern Ireland, bespoke libraries were also launched by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and the British Dietetic Society for their members. CCGs and Trusts in 70% of NHS regions now have an ORCHA app library in place, making safe and effective health apps easy to find.

Commenting on Northern Ireland’s app library, Robin Swann, Health Minister, Northern Ireland announced in March:

“We are now able to support people to look after their mental health and this app library provides a one stop shop where the public can access safe and secure apps to help them during the pandemic.”

Cathy Connolly, CEO, Care Merseyside recently reported:

“Apps have been a lifeline to the people we support, particularly during COVID-19. Apps have given the charity a different way we can provide support to people. It has enabled us to give help to people with a wide range of challenges, recommending apps such as Sidekick to help with weight management to Sleepio, to help people to sleep better.”  

As we look forward to a return to life outside of lockdown restrictions, we hope that not everything returns to pre-COVID. We hope that:

  •     Consumers continue to personally engage with their health, enjoying the insights, entertainment, and social engagement that health apps bring.
  •     Developers continue to innovate, driven to extend the reach of NHS services.
  •     NHS commissioners and clinicians continue to embed safe and effective digital into everyday practice.




(1) https://orchahealth.com/health-apps-for-long-covid-self-management-report/  

(2) https://www.england.nhs.uk/2020/07/around-one-million-downloads-of-fitness-app-during-lockdown-as-people-stay-fit/

(3) https://sensortower.com/blog/top-mental-wellness-apps-april-2020-downloads

Health apps for long COVID self-management: Report


Health apps for long COVID self-management: Report

Amongst the 3.9 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the UK to date, it is estimated that around one in five people experience symptoms that last for five weeks or longer, and one in ten have symptoms that last for twelve weeks or longer.

Termed long COVID, people report a myriad of symptoms including chronic fatigue, breathlessness, loss of sense of smell, depression, and concentration difficulties. Already totaling an estimated 186,000 people, long COVID will bring mounting pressure on primary care services.

Within its COVID-19 rapid guideline for managing the long-term effects of COVID-19, NICE recommends health apps as part of giving advice and information on self-management.

Click on the PDF icon below to download the Long COVID Self-Management Report. Discover:

  • The impact of long COVID on services today
  • The scale of growth in the search and supply of apps to treat long COVID symptoms
  • How, despite a 1087.5% rise in apps for COVID-19 in the first seven months of 2020, there is still no app development for the long COVID category
  • Some of the highest-scoring apps to help manage long COVID symptoms

If you are experiencing any issues with downloading the report, or want to know more, please get in touch with us at hello@orchahealth.com.