The Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA) has unveiled a digital health training programme for NHS staff. 

The Digital Health Academy aims to help build a digital-ready workforce, with online training modules specifically designed for frontline health and care professionals who want to use and recommend tools but have been struggling to access the knowledge to do so safely.

The programme is CPD-accredited and includes:

  • Short, bite-sized learning modules, to suit busy schedules, which can be accessed at any time
  • Two foundation modules which explain the function of health apps, the current digital landscape, the barriers to using and adopting digital health and the importance of prescribing good quality digital health products
  • Coming soon will be a series of specialist modules including topics such as digital health for mental health, diabetes, physiotherapy, long-Covid and winter pressures

There is still no mandatory digital health training for health and care professionals, and the courses that frontline workers can attend are often scarcely available. In response to this need, ORCHA, with help from universities and healthcare professionals, developed the Academy.

The foundation level modules are freely available at and on the Health Education England NHS Learning Hub.

Dr Neil Ralph, head of technology enhanced learning at Health Education England, said: “Covid-19 accelerated the rapid adoption of digital health across health and care services and the need to embed digital health in the long term.

“We are delighted that ORCHA has contributed its Digital Health Academy foundation content to the Learning Hub and look forward to hosting new content in the future, further supporting health and care professionals in their roles.”

ORCHA has created the infrastructure of the online training portal and designed courses, drawing on experience gained reviewing more than 17,000 health apps and operating health app libraries in 70% of NHS regions.

The team are anticipating training up to 50,000 healthcare staff in year one of the project, with all 630,000 NHS health and care professionals having the opportunity to enhance their skills by 2031.

Pharmaceutical company, Boehringer Ingelheim have been brought on as the sponsor of the foundation modules.

Uday Bose, managing director at Boehringer Ingelheim UK & Ireland, said: “There’s widespread recognition of the need for digital health training for frontline workers, with organisations from the King’s Fund to the Royal College of General Practitioners calling for it.

“With six million people now waiting for elective care, and with first-class digital tools available which could support healthcare workers with many of the high volume and low complexity cases, the need to improve digital skills and digital confidence in the NHS has become critical.

“We felt the academy was a perfect way to address this very real need amongst frontline staff.”

ORCHA has become a global leader in health app accreditation and distribution since it was founded in 2015 and their work in the digital health industry since has been revolutionary and earned recognition.

Only a few weeks ago, founding CEO Liz Ashall-Payne was named Entrepreneur of the Year at the Women in IT awards, being described by judges as a ‘visionary role model’.