This month’s mobile apps round-up features news the NHS London Procurement Partnership is inviting tenders for health and social care apps to help streamline the technology in the market, and the launch of a new holistic support app designed by cancer patients for cancer patients.

NHS London Procurement Partnership invites tenders for health and social care apps

The NHS London Procurement Partnership (NHS LPP) has introduced a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) that will enable a “streamlined and compliant” route to market for mHealth applications.

As part of this opportunity, NHS LPP is inviting suppliers to submit apps for inclusion in the DPS.

All apps that apply will undergo an assessment by the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA) and this will inform the selection decision made by NHS LPP. ORCHA’s review will look at 260 aspects of each app.

Serving a population with a wide range of health conditions, the programme is looking to include apps that address conditions including mental health, women’s health, child health, diabetes, blood pressure and more.

Apps may support the patient or the running of the organisation.

The partnership develops and manages collaborative procurement projects on behalf of its members, including NHS clinical commissioning groups and acute, community, mental health and ambulance trusts.

Operating as a centre of commercial excellence, it delivers significant and sustainable cost and service improvements to the health economy relating not only to the procurement of digital technology, but also workforce, medicines optimisation and pharmacy, and estates and facilities management.

To apply, developers should first register as a supplier on the NHS LPP procurement portal Proactis.

First holistic support app for cancer patients launched

A new app designed by cancer patients for cancer patients has been launched to help them cope with the psychical and psychological impact of the disease.

Natia is the first app to incorporate the holistic programmes of yoga, meditation, music, and conversation to provide individuals affected by cancer with support along the whole care pathway.

The app is supported by the UK cancer charity, Maggie’s Centres, who assisted with the development, alongside cancer patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals.

Natia is also collaborating with the Medway NHS Foundation Trust and is currently undertaking a joint feasibility study, with the view to launching a full NHS-run pilot.

John Muolo, founder of Natia, said: “Often, and understandably, clinicians’ main focus has to be on treating and stopping cancer. With cancer, however, we have to also consider our emotional and psychological well-being.

“Having practiced yoga and meditation for over 15 years, I have seen how these practices foster a sense of calmness and peacefulness, a pause in our busy minds.

“It is during this pause that we can begin to change our relationship with cancer and begin addressing its psychological burden. After further researching the therapeutic benefits that yoga, meditation and music can have, the idea for Natia was born – to offer the millions of people affected by cancer much-needed support.”

Sue Green, Macmillan recovery package facilitator at Medway NHS Foundation Trust, added: “From the first we heard of the Natia app, we saw it had the potential to significantly help our cancer patients.

“Following the feasibility study, if successful, we will work jointly with Natia to initiate a pilot study looking at the impact of the digital therapeutic delivery of the holistic interventions within the Natia app for our cancer patients.”

Ampersand Health partners with National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society to develop an app

Ampersand Health and the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) developed an app to allow patients with the condition to take an active role in managing their health.

The My Arthritis app, developed alongside experts from Kings College Hospital, brings together a personal health record, daily tracking and easy-to-access help and support from NRAS.

Hospitals that sign up can use the app to manage their patients remotely, improving care quality and reducing unnecessary hospital visits.

Nader Alaghband, founder of Ampersand Health, said: “We know that the patient’s journey is often long and lonely and a model of care based on infrequent outpatient appointments can be significantly improved through better communication and increased patient engagement.”

James Galloway, consultant rheumatologist at Kings College Hospital, said: “There is a growing body of evidence that self-management works for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

“Equally, the burden that long term conditions such as RA place on the NHS is unsustainable and the time is right to develop and advocate for new, digitally-enabled models of care that could drive savings and quality improvement.”

The app is free for patients to use.

Clare Jacklin, chief executive of NRAS, added: “RA can impact on every aspect of an individual’s life so being more engaged in one’s own care and treatment and learning good self-management techniques is essential for improving quality of life.

“We believe that apps such as My Arthritis will provide timely access to quality information on managing flares, thus improving adherence to treatment. Improving the health of the RA population in this way will also result in more efficient use of stretched NHS services.”

Intelligent planning app streamlines management of care plans

Log My Care, a portal and app for social care staff, helps streamline the process of creating and managing care plans.

Log my Care’s new Care Planning and Assessments tool is the first of its kind to introduce a seamless data flow to the care planning process.

Pre-existing care software providers typically offer document editing-style functions but the new system is a fundamental change in the process of care planning, freeing up care professionals’ time, which is increasingly under pressure as the sector faces growing demand.

Adam Hurst, chief technology officer of Log my Care, said: “If new technology is going to be adopted, it has to developed from the perspective of the people who will use it every day.

“This is why we have worked with care teams at every stage of the development process of our app. Providing care is a fundamentally human process. But with the right understanding, technology can support it – saving time, raising quality, and improving safety by reducing the chance of errors.”

Sam Hussain, founder of Log my Care, added: “Most care software imagines the stages of care planning in silos that don’t talk to each other. We wanted to think about the whole process end-to-end and then build a system where the flow of information is seamless throughout.

“For example, if a first assessment shows that a person sometimes uses an aid to help them walk, our system prompts a full mobility assessment, with the initial observation already logged. This includes assessing risks, which in this case logically includes the risk of falls.

“Very quickly, the care teams build up a picture of the person – what they can do and what they need support with – and it’s all documented in a way which is helpful and informative to everyone involved, including the regulatory bodies.”

The system is free to use.