‘Clinically unsafe’ Health Help Now app set to be deleted

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The Health Help Now app is set to be deleted after it was rendered “clinically unsafe” and its providers ran out of money.

The app, developed by NHS North West London for residents across its eight boroughs, will no longer be available to users from the end of June following the decision to decommission the service. Instead, users will be encouraged to use the NHS App.

Health Help Now was designed to signpost users to the right healthcare services for them, including symptom checkers, diabetes support and health advice.

“Unfortunately it has not been widely taken up across the eight boroughs and the local NHS no longer has the clinical resource to assure its clinical content or the financial resource to promote it,” according to a statement on the NHS North West London website.

During stakeholder engagements on the viability and future of the app it was found a “lack of clinical oversight rendered the app clinically unsafe”.

Stakeholders also expressed concern the apps user base was too low to be financially sustainable and that user numbers were unlikely to increase due to the lack of available promotional funding.

Kevin Jarrold, joint CIO of North West London Health and Care Partnership, said: “Following the decision to close Health Help Now we need to concentrate on encouraging people to download and use the national NHS App which offers an excellent alternative that is backed by NHS England and NHSX.”

Health Help Now was launched in 2013 with the aim to eventually be included in the NHS App library.

The app was briefly taken out of service in October 2017 due to clinical assurance concerns and continued difficulty with the accreditation of health apps.

The service was restored after the provider was able to demonstrate the app fully complied with the NHS England clinical safety standard for health ICT systems.

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