Mental Health Commission of Canada Launches Digital Mental Health Framework


Mental Health Commission of Canada Launches Digital Mental Health Framework

Screengrab from Mental Health Commission of Canada website, showing the headline

The First Digital Mental Health Framework launches with an eye on eMental Health activation

Our partner, The Mental Health Commission of Canada has launched its digital mental health app assessment framework. World leading in scope, Canada is leading the charge as it takes active steps to improving access to quality eMental Health technologies to the benefit of millions of Canadians.

The commission created the assessment framework in collaboration with diverse stakeholders across Canada — including people with lived and living experience — and with the support of ORCHA.

Its 7 main standards:

1.  Data and privacy

2.  Clinical evidence

3.  Clinical safety

4.  Usability and accessibility

5.  Security and technical stability

6.  Cultural safety, social responsibility, and equity

7.  Enhanced data sovereignty

You can find out more about the framework at: App Assessment – Mental Health Commission of Canada.

ORCHA Welcomes Pete Rowse as its new Chairman


ORCHA Welcomes Pete Rowse as its new Chairman

Image of Peter Rowse speaking at a conference

We are delighted to share some exciting news with you today.

It is our great pleasure to announce that Pete Rowse has been appointed as our new Chairman. With a 30-year track record in managing high-growth international companies across technology, clean energy and logistics industries, Pete will be instrumental in helping ORCHA to achieve its vision.

“I’m delighted to be joining ORCHA at such an exciting time. Liz, Tim and the team have built ORCHA from scratch to become the world’s number one technology provider for delivering safe digital health.

ORCHA’s work with its partners and customers is creating accessibility to digital health for patients and transformational efficiency benefits to healthcare providers. I’m very much looking forward to working with the team to further drive the growth and accelerate the international expansion.”

Said Pete.

As our new Chairman, Pete’s visionary leadership and strategic insights will play a critical role in shaping ORCHA’s future direction. We are confident that his expertise will further strengthen our commitment to excellence and drive our organization to even greater success.

On behalf of the entire ORCHA team, we extend a warm welcome and are thrilled to have him on board. We are excited about the positive impact he will have on our partnerships and the broader healthcare industry.

Please join us in embracing this new chapter at ORCHA and stay tuned for the exceptional opportunities that lie ahead. Together with Pete’s guidance, we are confident in our ability to continue delivering innovative solutions and making a meaningful difference in the world of digital health.

Thank you for your continued support and collaboration.

Digital Health in the US Attitudes and Behavior Report 2023


Digital Health in the US Attitudes and Behavior Report 2023

Faced with an aging population, shortage of healthcare professionals, and employee burnout, the healthcare industry today must keep patients healthy and satisfied with squeezed margins and staffing shortages. Providers are using creative solutions to address the shortage, including turning to digital technologies to relieve pressure on services and build a more sustainable system.

As with the right digital health vendor management, technology can transform services, reducing demands on staff, whilst improving patient outcomes. Imagine every one of your patients being able to access high-quality support via the cell phone in their pocket; helping to better manage their health and giving your team a clearer picture of their experiences between appointments.

However, despite encouraging signs, progress towards improving digital capabilities within healthcare is slow. Only half of providers have established a digital health strategy.1

So, what is stopping the wholesale adoption of digital health in health care services? Where are the barriers? And where are the opportunities? ORCHA has commissioned a Poll of US residents, to better understand the nation’s use of and attitudes to digital health.

Download our report to discover:

  • What are patient attitudes toward digital health in the US today?
  • How is digital health usage changing?
  • Are people finding digital health helpful?
  • Which regions are most activated in terms of digital health?
  • How does the healthcare professional influence the public’s digital health choices?

Click here to download the report:

Landmark study: health apps help diabetes patients reduce blood sugar


Landmark study: health apps help diabetes patients reduce blood sugar

Businessman on the go checking his glucose level using a smartwatch and phone app.

Researchers from the Organization for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA) have found that blood glucose levels amongst those with Type 2 Diabetes can be reduced by up to 1.1% when patients use digital health tools alongside their standard medication.

Patients with Type 1 Diabetes can reduce their blood sugar (HbA1c) by up to 0.5%.

The reductions in blood sugar levels are significant because every 0.1% decrease reduces the risk of retinal damage, kidney failure, ulceration, and limb amputation. 

Additionally, patients with Type 1 Diabetes experienced a 37% reduction in microvascular complications (which can lead to blindness) having reduced their blood sugar by just 1%.

Eleven percent of people in the US now have Diabetes and 38% have pre-Diabetes. Health apps can help patients track activity, food intake, and medication, while giving peer support and remotely monitoring their data, aiding their physicians.

ORCHA’s researchers examined 25 global, independent randomized trials of diabetes control. The study, published in Frontiers in Clinical Diabetes and Healthcare, reported significant results, especially for the US.

  • Nearly half the patients involved were American (1,559 out of 3,360 patients).
  • A Los Angeles study found that where oral therapies were failing those with uncontrolled Type 2 Diabetes, digital health apps helped medication adherence by more than 80%.
  • A North Carolina study among veterans concluded that digital health apps could be a practical ‘real world’ way of reducing the burden of poor diabetes control.

Dr. Leigh, who is himself a Type 1 Diabetic, said:

“This is a commanding result which we hope healthcare payers and providers will take note of. With over ten percent of the population having Diabetes, adequate management is vital. Some of the consequences of this condition take time to evolve and are difficult to remedy. This study shows that health apps can be an effective part of this process, complementing other forms of care.”

The study is the first systematic review of these clinical trials. It aimed to establish whether health apps could assist with Hba1c levels. It found that in 21 out of the 25 trials, patients using digital health tools to supplement their care achieved better HbA1c results.

In 20 out of the 25 trials, there were additional reported reductions in cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and Body Mass Index.

Amongst those with Type 2 Diabetes, the improvements in blood sugar levels were similar to the benefits patients receive when using Metformin, a commonly used medicine to lower blood sugar levels which is often the first line of treatment for the condition.

Although researchers expect a drop-out rate of 40% when patients trial digital tools, there were lower drop-out rates when people with diabetes used them, at 20%.

In the trials, the average duration of diabetes for those using digital health was 12.49 years and the average age was 52. The researchers were surprised that this group, seemingly well entrenched in their self-management habits, was so open to trying new approaches, showing there is a role for digital health in those with well-established diabetes.

Dietician and clinical lead for diabetes at ORCHA, Susan Gallagher, said:

“The improvement demonstrated in the research paper is clinically valuable and a comparison could be made to the impact of diabetes medication. It is important that digital solutions are evidence-based, proving they can add value to a person’s care. This paper has shown the improvements that can be realized.

“Many apps exist but not all have the same standards or ability to show a positive impact. Individuals and clinicians should consider a trusted app when selecting one to support their care needs”.

Diabetes digital health apps which passed the stringent ORCHA health app review process (the Digital Health Assessment Framework) and are therefore recommended as trustworthy: 

  • OneTouch Reveal® works alongside the OneTouch Verio Reflect™ meter, and the OneTouch Flex® meters to help manage Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes. ORCHA score 72%
  • Health2Sync App allows you to visualize your blood glucose, blood pressure, weight readings, and daily activities to help you adjust and take full control of your health. ORCHA score 75%