In review: featured item

In our featured item, find out about how the NHS digital apps libary helps with the self-management of COPD. To discover more, read on ...


Featured item  NHS Digital apps library

NHS Digital’s remit is to help patients, clinicians, commissioners, analysts and researchers. When it was set up by the Department of Health in 2013, it was known as the Health and Social Care Information Centre. It aims to improve health and social care in England by making better use of technology, data and information.
In April this year, NHS Digital launched an apps library, which it wants the public to use. Each tool in the library has been assessed to ensure it is safe to use. We are told that a number of apps are currently being ‘tested in the NHS’, while others are ‘NHS approved’. Over time, people will start to see more apps appearing that are labelled appropriately.  
Some of the apps are particularly relevant to physiotherapists: many readers will be familiar with apps such as Couch to 5K, for example. 
This is designed to help people to be able to run five kilometres in just nine weeks. Other apps that are included in the library are myCOPD, an NHS-approved app that helps people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to manage their condition. It includes sections on perfecting inhaler techniques, improving breathing, tracking medication use and pulmonary rehabilitation. 
Designed to help self-management of COPD, the app aims to complement face-to- face pulmonary rehabilitation programmes. This app has been recognised in the NHS England innovation and technology tariff, which was created to speed up the uptake of innovations in the NHS. As a result, myCOPD is available free of charge to selected patients through the NHS England innovation and technology tariff.
Those involved in developing apps might wish to consider obtaining NHS approval for their products. To find out more, visit, an exciting mobile health space that helps developers striving to create digital products to benefit patients in health and social care settings. 
I hope physiotherapists will use the library, which is still being developed, and provide feedback. 
For more information on the NHS health apps library.
  • Dr Amanda Buttery is an innovation fellow, South London Health Innovation Network and an honorary clinical lecturer, King’s College London. 

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