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.

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