NHS England is working with the US Food and Drug Administration on a bilateral framework for regulations on mobile health apps.

Last month, the FDA issued its final guidance on regulating health apps in the US, and NHS England is looking to follow in the same direction.

Speaking at EHI Live 2013, Inderjit Singh, head of enterprise architecture at NHS England, said it wants to define a set of standards for clinician facing apps.

“As part of some bilateral US-UK work, we’re looking work directly with the FDA to identify points of convergence and harmonisation to complement each other,” he said.

“Over the next few months we’re looking at this, ad hope to come up with an overall framework for this.”

NHS England’s app strategy is divided into four different strands: patient facing apps, clinician facing apps, open source and API development, and ‘market making’.

The health apps library, launched by NHS England in March this year, forms part of the patient facing part of the strategy.

The library now includes around 150 apps that have been vetted by clinical safety engineers as “trusted apps,” and it will eventually become part of the new NHS Choices platform.

There are thousands of apps out there, and the quality and safety of the apps aren’t looked at when it comes to criteria for getting into an app store,” said Singh.

“It’s about how do we help consumers understand which apps aren’t going to cause them any harm.”

Singh added that NHS England wants apps to be an integrated part of patient care.

“We want it to move away from a sort of stand-alone apps to something that’s fully integrated into the patient journey. We’re looking at holistic apps such as care planning, instead of having 25 apps for 25 different conditions,” he said. “We want apps to be embedded as part of a patient journey.”