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ORCHA and business growth hub partner to drive health app innovation in Greater Manchester 

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The Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Applications (ORCHA), the predominant provider of health and care related app reviews in the UK, has entered into a partnership with Greater Manchester’s Business Growth Hub.

ORCHA’s apps review provides the most comprehensive and robust objective baseline assessment of health and fitness related apps. With over 2,000 full reviews undertaken, and over 172,000 apps filtered and assessed at some level already, ORCHA’s scoring approach enables end users, or health and care professionals and carers, to assess one app over another.

Manchester business support service the Business Growth Hub, part of The Growth Company, have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ORCHA in recognition of the rapidly growing importance and value of opportunities in digital health and MedTech emerging in Greater Manchester.

This agreement specifically supports Greater Manchester’s healthcare developer community by providing them with access to a wide range of support which will make their app the best it can be, including:

  • How to develop new routes to the health and wellbeing market
  • How to break into niche health and care sectors
  • Impartial feedback on their product

For a small fee of Greater Manchester developers can now have their app reviewed against ORCHA’s 118-point review model, receiving a report outlining areas of strength and potential development for their app, within just one week. After refinements based on ORCHA’s feedback, the app then goes onto all of ORCHA’s portals which are accessible to both the public and health and care professionals alike.

Developers will also be provided with free ‘top tips’ for creating products for the health and care sector. The advice centres on key elements of trust, functionality, data privacy, testing, content and user testing – all focused on the demands of the health and care sector.

Ian MacArthur, Head of Sectors at Business Growth Hub, said: “Greater Manchester has a great community of app developers already working in the health sector, and a great deal more with the potential to enter this market. Working with ORCHA we will open up new markets and ensure the apps are fit for purpose and commercially successful.”

Liz Ashall-Payne, ORCHA’s CEO, said: “We want to support app developers in Manchester by offering a new route to market and showcasing the very best health apps. App developers we work with benefit from impartial feedback and comparison with others in the market to improve their product. Together we can create a thriving market place for apps that really benefit people and communities.”

A webinar series is also being planned, designed to enhance developers understanding of the market. The series will cover the key challenges and opportunities of the sector including the role of apps in achieving outcomes, privacy issues and the role, plans and policies of national bodies regarding the use of apps in healthcare settings.

The MoU with ORCHA is the latest example of how Business Growth Hub helps Greater Manchester SMEs and scale-ups working in digital health and MedTech to commercialise their technology. In partnership with TRUSTECH, the NHS innovation experts, the Hub supports tech and digital firms looking to develop and sell their product or service into the NHS. Life sciences SMEs can also register their interest for a new fully-funded STEP INto Healthcare training programme starting in winter 2017 and provided by the Hub, Greater Manchester Academic Health Science Network (GM AHSN) and TRUSTECH.

The STEP INto Healthcare programme comprises a series of workshops and one-to-one coaching sessions focusing on developing products and services for the healthcare sector.

Business Growth Hub projects are part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the GM Business Growth Hub project designed to help ambitious SME businesses achieve growth and increase employment in Greater Manchester.