Digital health sector will take advantage of landmark new UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement 

Digital health sector will take advantage of landmark new UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement 

ORCHA signs historic partnership with Cogniss to unlock next generation of digital health

Two digital health companies, ORCHA and Cogniss, have announced a global partnership that will benefit from the new UK-Australian Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which has just passed through the UK House of Commons and is anticipated to come into effect in 2023.

The FTA will drive increased trade, two-way investment, economic growth and job creation.  It’s the first international FTA the UK government has negotiated from scratch since leaving the EU.

ORCHA is the UK-based world leader in digital health evaluation and distribution. Australian-based Cogniss is a no-code digital health platform which enables innovators to create solutions without any need for coding or technical expertise.

Under the new partnership, apps created through the Cogniss no-code platform will meet ORCHA Baseline Review standards in relation to data, security and accessibility. This will streamline the app development and evaluation process, and enable healthcare professionals to develop bespoke content that meets professional assurance standards but without the need for them to have advanced technical expertise.

It will also help reduce regulatory and technical barriers and increase quality; issues that frequently hinder solutions from making their way into the NHS and Medicare, Australia’s universal health care scheme.

Speaking at an event held at Australian High Commission hosted by Senator Hon Don Farrell, Fiona Costello, SVP of Accreditations at ORCHA said:

“We are often approached by clinicians with solutions to the problems they are facing, but they lack the time, resources and expertise to build them, therefore relying on commercial products that are not always a perfect fit. Alongside Cogniss, we can now help them to understand the criteria to create high quality technologies and, through this partnership, support them to develop market-ready solutions.”

Dr Lloyd Humphreys, Cogniss’s newly appointed Managing Director, said:

“Having founded and created a digital health solution for addictions back in 2009, it took over two years and a million pounds of investment. Since then, nothing has changed in the way we design and create apps. Cogniss represents a complete paradigm shift for the sector and working with ORCHA further accelerates the ability to lower the barriers for clinical entrepreneurs to create great technology that solves the challenges they are facing.”

Cogniss is currently setting up global headquarters in Cambridge with support from the UK Department of International Trade, Investment NSW and Austrade.

Sign up to our newsletter

For regular updates on digital health, apps, industry news, and more, sign up to our mailing list here.

Contact us

For more information about our services, to request a demo, or for advice on any aspect of digital health, please get in touch.

First thousand frontline workers complete ORCHA training academy

First thousand frontline workers complete ORCHA training academy

One thousand delegates from across the NHS and care sectors have logged onto the new ORCHA Digital Health Academy and completed foundation training modules.

The UK’s first digital health training resource for frontline healthcare staff has been available nationwide since March 2022. It’s available at orcha-academy.com and on the Health Education England Learning Hub (learninghub.nhs.uk), where it is one of the most frequently accessed catalogues.

The academy is a free resource for frontline workers which offers CPD-accredited training in short, bite-size modules, to suit busy schedules. The service is provided by ORCHA, the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps, and Boehringer Ingelheim enabled free access to the foundation modules through its sponsorship.

The academy was launched after research by ORCHA revealed that whilst 65% of the public are open to trying digital health, only a fraction of tools are recommended to patients by health or care professionals, with only 3% of recommendations coming from hospital doctors, 6% from GPs and 2% from nurses.

The need to support a digitally-ready workforce has been highlighted by the NHSX Readiness Plan which states that there is a critical requirement to invest in developing front-line skills for digital health through professional development.  This need was also reaffirmed in the government’s plan for digital health and social care, published on 29 June .

The new academy has already been embedded into learning platforms at Hereford and Worcester ICS, Birmingham Community NHS Foundation Trust, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust and the mHealth Hub.

Healthcare professionals have been trained from ICSs and Trusts in Devon, Hereford and Worcester, Humber and North Yorkshire, Cornwall, Lancashire, Dorset, Shropshire, Telford, Derbyshire, Surrey and Somerset. Delegates have also been trained from Alzheimer’s Scotland, charity Best for You with CW+ and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists.

Delegates have responded extremely positively to the foundation modules, with one ICU nurse from Kings College Hospital commenting:

“Super grateful for @ORCHAhealth’s course. 10/10.”

A researcher at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital said:

“Already thinking of digital solutions beyond what we are doing now. Great course.”

Alison Johnson, Director of Programmes and Projects at ORCHA, said:

“For all of us who have worked in the NHS and understand the reality of the time pressures and technical shortfalls experienced by frontline staff, getting the academy right has been deeply personal. We are over the moon that so many delegates have tried our foundation modules and given such a positive response.”

Uday Bose, Managing Director and Head of Human Pharma at Boehringer Ingelheim UK & Ireland, said:

“We all understand why digital health is needed. The academy is at the vanguard of how it is going to happen. There’s no other grass roots training facility like this and we are so pleased to have enabled its inception, by supporting the development of the foundational modules.”

Discussions are taking place NHS-wide about embedding the academy in operations. Two further CCGs are set to add links to training hub sites. Our Dorset is using the academy as part of its onboarding for care co-ordinators in primary care.

Sign up to our newsletter

For regular updates on digital health, apps, industry news, and more, sign up to our mailing list here.

Contact us

For more information about our services, to request a demo, or for advice on any aspect of digital health, please get in touch.

New study into liver disease shows doctors recognise the potential of digital health interventions

New study into liver disease shows doctors recognise the potential of digital health interventions

Two thirds of healthcare professionals involved in a new research project believe that digital health interventions can help patient care management, but over half had never recommended them to patients.  

That’s the finding of a new study of Spanish physicians by Spanish academics in partnership with public health researchers at ORCHA (Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps). The team used non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) as a test case for examining this issue. 

NAFLD was chosen because of its growing prevalence in Spain and because it often remains undiagnosed. It’s a condition which can be avoided by simple lifestyle changes such as better diet and exercise – and there’s growing evidence that these changes can be supported by digital health interventions. 

The presence of some fat in the liver is normal but having too much can prevent normal liver function. In the most advanced stages, liver function can break down and a transplant may be needed.   

The study was carried out in early 2022 amongst almost 300 gastroenterologists and hepatologists.  Most of the physicians recognised the potential of digital health interventions: 60% felt these tools would help with improve the efficiency of care delivery and 52% felt they would improve patient engagement and self-management of their health. 

Only 25% of these physicians had received training in how to use digital health interventions although 94% of them thought it would be useful to receive training.  

In addition to training, two key factors influencing whether these tools would be used were time and evidence. Fifty-nine per cent of the physicians said they would recommend these tools if there was time within the consult and 51% said they would need evidence that the tool would work well before recommending it.  

Dr Simon Leigh, head of research at ORCHA, said:

“There’s a shift in how care is being provided but it’s not occurring uniformly and that’s why it’s so important for us to examine distinct areas of care in such detail. Lessons learned in one area can be shared more broadly. 

“We were very pleased with the positive feedback from the physicians, but they raised practical considerations regarding training, time within consultations, and trust in these products. All of these are areas we can work on. For example, in the UK all frontline healthcare workers now have access to free and professionally accredited digital health training via the ORCHA Digital Health Academy.” 

High quality digital health interventions can support patients with their liver health by encouraging better lifestyle choices. Apps can log exercise, help with smoking cessation, assist with healthier food choices, and encourage lower alcohol intake.  

The full results of the study are available at the Liver Meeting 2022, in Washington DC until 8 November.  

Sign up to our newsletter

For regular updates on digital health, apps, industry news, and more, sign up to our mailing list here.

Contact us

For more information about our services, to request a demo, or for advice on any aspect of digital health, please get in touch.

Digital for mental health attitudes and behaviour report 2022