The Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA)’s Digital Health Academy has added a new foundation-level module that aims to bridge the engagement gap between health innovators and patients.

The Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement learning module has been created to support the development and delivery of patient-centric technologies. As well as providing a framework for digital health innovators, it also aims to educate clinicians who prescribe tech solutions to their patients.

According to ORCHA, only six in 10 innovators consult patients before the development of their healthcare app.

Dr Tom Micklewright, GP and clinical director of ORCHA said: “Digital health tools have the potential to transform how front-line workers deliver healthcare, but this will only work if patients use the tools.

“I’ve seen first-hand how some health apps have lost the confidence of patients because they were never really designed with usability in mind.

“I hope having this module on the Academy will help clinical entrepreneurs at a practical level and will also help my colleagues on the front line understand more about health app development.”

The launch addressed the need for training on conducting effective patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE). Without this, resources were wasted on unsuitable technology.

The new module is an introduction to the first evidence-based framework for PPIE, which was launched by the University of Plymouth, the Academic Health Science Network and Boehringer Ingelheim UK & Ireland.

It helps to fast-track learning of the EnACT principles (Engage; Acknowledge, Value and Support; Communicate; and Trust and Transparency) described in the framework, and outlines how to involve patients in product innovation.

In addition, it covers critical issues like data privacy, intellectual property, inclusivity, reimbursement, useability and recruitment of patients.

Liz Ashall-Payne, CEO of ORCHA, said, “The Academy exists to help frontline health and care workers build their digital confidence and skills, and part of this learning is an understanding of how these digital tools have been developed by clinical entrepreneurs in the first place.

“This highly instructive video module, which is based on an award-winning training manual, will do just that. ORCHA will also be making this module available to the digital health developer community, through a new portal.”

The Digital Health Academy was launched in 2022 to help resolve the lack of mandatory digital health training for health and care professionals.

The new module will be available at the Digital Health Academy and on the Health Education England NHS Learning Hub.