This month’s mobile apps round-up features news that WhatsApp-style clinical messaging app Forward could save the NHS £44m a year, and health app evaluation organisation ORCHA has been enlisted by the Dutch Foundation for Mental Health to provide safe guidance on apps available for mental health conditions.

WhatsApps-sytle messaging app could save NHS £44m a year

A WhatsApp style messaging app developed by junior doctors could save the NHS £44m a year, according to a new study.

Forward, a smartphone app which helps NHS workers exchange patient information, make clinical decisions and manage their workload, was analysed by the Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network (AHSN).

The report found that the app stands to save a trust just under million (£922k) in in-year cash and non-cash savings, rising to £44 million should the application be rolled out across all acute trusts nationally.

Over five years, the study found these savings could reach up to £6.9 million savings for an acute trust site and £340 million savings for the NHS as a whole.

The cash saving for the NHS would be a direct result of avoiding fines and disciplinary action associated with data breaches, and reducing pager numbers.

It also saves clinicians’ time, reduces staff turnover and sick days, improves patient management and experience, educational opportunities, and improves teamwork and overall workflow, the report found.

Dr Barney Gilbert, co-founder of Forward, said: “We’ve been receiving phenomenal feedback from NHS trusts right across the country and it’s amazing to see quantitative results that demonstrate our potential to save each NHS trust millions, while improving our daily lives as clinicians.”

The app is currently used by more than 100 NHS hospitals and CCGs.

MIND appoints ORCHA to address “jungle” of health apps

MIND, the Dutch Foundation for Mental Health, has signed a cooperation agreement with UK-based health app evaluation organisation ORCHA.

The aim of the agreement is to provide an app signposting platform, providing an overview through the Dutch “jungle” of apps and other e-health applications that promote mental health.

MIND wants to ensure people are better informed about the quality and functionality of apps so they can make a choice from the entire range more easily.

The app signposting site is being developed by MIND in co-production with GGZ Nederland and its members and is funded by the Dutch Ministry for Health, Welfare and Sport.

Liz Ashall Payne, chief executive of ORCHA, said: “We know that mental health apps can make a real difference, but with no regulations, finding safe and effective ones can be extremely hard for patients and practitioners.

“We’re delighted to be working with MIND in the Netherlands, to put steps in place to safeguard people and help them find the best apps.” secures £50 million funding for smartphone-based app to detect chronic kidney disease has secured £50 million in series C funding and received FDA clearance for it’s smartphone-based test to diagnose chronic kidney disease.

The funding will be used to continue the company’s global expansion.

The app uses artificial intelligence to transform a patients phone into a clinical-grade scanner to test their albumin to creatinine ratio – a key indicator of kidney disease.

Last year, the company also received clearance for its at-home, smartphone-based urinalysis test kit, called, that can be used in testing for urinary tract infections or in prenatal care.

The app is currently being trialled by Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust. also recently announced a partnership with Boots UK, placing its Dip UTI test kits in hundreds of pharmacies, allowing women to test and treat common UTIs, and announced a new pharmacy evaluation with the NHS.

First FDA approved and CE marked smartphone based ECG device now available

KardiaMobile 6L, a six-lead personal heart monitoring device, has been launched in the UK.

The smartphone-based technology provides a multi-dimensional view of the heart in 30-seconds, including visibility into arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation (AF), that are leading indicators of cardiovascular disease.

The KardiaMobile 6L is a further development of AliveCor’s existing KardiaMobile device. In addition to the two electrodes on the top of the device, there is one electrode on the bottom.

The user starts a 30 second ECG recording on their smartphone, via the Kardia app, by placing their thumbs on each of the two top electrodes and placing the bottom electrode on their left knee or ankle – enabling the heart to be viewed from six perspectives.

Once a recording has been taken, the artificial intelligence system performs an automatic analysis and informs the patient whether AF, bradycardia (slow heart rhythm), tachycardia (fast heart rhythm) or a normal rhythm is detected.

The data collected can then be sent directly to a clinician for further analysis and consultation. Data from a six-lead ECG recording enables clinicians to identify problems that might be undetectable with a single-lead device.