European mHealth Hub Spotlight on Digital Health Assessment Frameworks

digital health accreditation across the globe

The European mHealth Hub was founded to serve as a focal point for expertise on mHealth in the WHO European Region. Its latest Hub Talk event covered the important topic of digital health assessment frameworks, and shone a spotlight on the work taking place in the Nordics, Netherlands and Israel. mHealth Hub highlighted that these are powerful examples of how a public-private partnership can deliver very concrete results building on each other’s strengths.

Hani Eskandar, Digital Services Senior Coordinator BDT/DGS, mHealth Hub spoke with Anders Tunold-Hanssen, CEO, The Nordic Interoperability Project, Rimmert Brandsma, Project Leader, MIND Platform, and our very own Tim Andrews, co-founder and COO, ORCHA.

During the discussion, Rimmert Brandsma, Project Leader, MIND Platform, presented on how MIND and de Nederlandse ggz worked with ORCHA to find and select mental health apps in the Netherlands – guiding people through the jungle of apps.

Explaining the multi-layered digital health assessment that combines the ORCHA assessment, MIND test panel reviews, and MIND editorial board consolidated reviews, Rimmert expressed that,

“The essence of our success, I think, is the multilayered concept of co-creation.”

“Because it’s a volatile market, we need some kind of stability in guiding that market to the next steps, and that’s what we are doing.”

The webinar also heard from Anders Tunold-Hanssen, CEO, The Nordic Interoperability Project, who discussed building the Nordic digital health ecosystem. Anders explained that what the Nordic Interoperability Project wanted to do was:

“Regulate what is an unregulated market in the Nordics to assist the citizens and health ecosystem, and we also wanted to build one common Nordic home market for the health app industry. To both benefit the healthcare sector, but also to stimulate the healthcare industry to build digital health solutions that could be viable and sustainable.”

The Nordic Interoperability Project worked with ORCHA to build their digital health accreditation framework. The essence of this, Anders explains, is that,

“It’s really important when starting looking at these kinds of frameworks that unlocking the power of digital health is not about finding the right standard and how to do the accreditation, it’s more about finding a system where you also focus on the implementation and activation of digital health. We don’t need a lot of quality assured digital health solutions; we need a lot of quality assured digital health solutions in the right hands – in the hands of the healthcare workers and of the individuals.”

ORCHA’s Tim Andrews presented on Developing Services to Support the Digital Patient, discussing the challenge of how to manage the process of digital health accreditation when there are so many potential solutions:

“Whilst there has been a huge uptick in interest in digital health, this is often not matched with quite the rate of adoption and usage that everybody would like to see, particularly in areas that impact healthcare systems. The opportunity that is perhaps being most missed at the minute is the ability for digital health to be embedded into healthcare systems.”

On ORCHA’s work in overcoming the main barriers to using digital health solutions – awareness, accessibility, trust and governance – Tim explained that,

“We’ve started to identify in ORCHA the various different assessment frameworks and started to build into our systems the ability to deliver against each of these, such as the NHSX DTAC standard which has been published in the UK, the new ISO standard (ISO 82304-2), the DiGA assessment in Germany, and emerging national approaches.”

Summarising, Tim highlighted that, “You need to be able to balance practicality and rigour, and therefore being able to make the job easier for developers to meet all of these different accreditation requirements is critical because then they will engage, and, as a result of that, what you are able to do is push the developers and the product owners towards being more compliant and creating higher standard products. The key thing for [ORCHA] is that, although it appears like quite a complex and diverse world, actually, it is increasingly becoming more and more practically convergent on the ground.”

If you missed the talk, you can view the recording here:

For more information, or to ask any questions about topics raised in the webinar and our work in this space, please contact us.