MindTech is collaborating with Leeds and York NHS Foundation Trust and The University of Leeds to develop a common set of criteria for evaluating digital mental health tools such as apps and mobile websites.  A draft toolkit was presented at the King's Fund Digital Healthcare Congress on September 11th 2014 and we have now refined the toolkit based on the feedback that we have had from a wide range of users, developers and clinicians. Our Leeds/Nottingham collaboration continued into 2017 with the NHS England funded Digital Development Lab being delivered by mHabitat: https://www.england.nhs.uk/2016/10/digital-innovators
for which a final report is now available: A Framework for the effectiveness evaluation of mobile (mental) health tools, October 2017

The projects aims to investigate:

  • What patients, practitioners and commissioners want from digital products.
  • What information they need when considering using or purchasing them.
  • What barriers exist to adopting these technologies.
  • What the role should be of regulators, policy makers and initiatives such as the NHS Apps library.

This work recommends a proportionate approach should be taken to evaluating mental health apps; there are a wide range of apps available, all of which have different objectives and make different claims about their potential impact. We have produced a framework that lists all of the possible issues that may be relevant and presents these in away that allows users, NHS organisations or clinicians to compare and contrast the relevant products: 

xlsxMindTech Framework for Mental Health Digital Products v1.3

We will be refining the framework over the next months and are keen to get as much feedback as possible. Please download and use the tools and send us your comments, suggestions and criticisms.  

Related references:

PAS 277:2015 Health and wellness apps. Quality criteria across the life cycle. Code of practice. British Standards Institution. 30th April 2015. MindTech co-author on Steering Group (Craven, MP).

Craven, M. P., Lang, A. R., Martin, J. L. (2014) Developing mHealth Apps with researchers: multi-stakeholder design considerations. In Marcus, A. (ed.) Design, User Experience, and Usability: User Experience Design for Everyday Life Applications and Services, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 8519, HCII 2014, Part III, Springer, pp. 15-24. Available at doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-07635-5_2

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