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Digital health programme launches across borough’s schools

Published Thursday 7 March 2019 at 12:50

An exciting new digital programme for schools combining health apps with the national curriculum is being rolled out across Blackburn with Darwen after being successfully trialled in schools last year.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s ‘Digital Healthy Schools’ programme will help secondary schools in the borough creatively engage young people in managing their own health, through the use of mobile apps.

Through assemblies and hands-on workshops, pupils will be encouraged to learn more about health conditions whilst exploring the topic of app development and app reviews in PHSE or science lessons.

With no regulation in Apple or Google app stores, pupils will also being given advice on what to look for in an app around safety, data security and clinical effectiveness.  And they will have access to an app comparison site, featuring apps evaluated against 160 criteria and have been identified to be suitable for children.

The programme is devised and run by ORCHA, a leading health app evaluation and advisor organisation, home to the world’s biggest health app comparison site, and part of NHS England’s National Innovation Accelerator Programme.

It is funded by Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria, the area’s Integrated Care system.

Some schools had the opportunity to test the programme last year, including Witton Park Academy and St Thomas’s Centre in Blackburn.

Steve Archer, a teacher at Witton Park Academy, said:

Using apps is second nature to young people, they embraced the programme immediately.  It created conversation and enabled technology’s positive role to shine through.  Pupils have actively used apps to adopt changes to their lifestyles, particularly around diet and exercise – although one pupil even found an app to better treat his mum’s eczema! It’s great to see them taking responsibility for their own health.

Councillor Brian Taylor, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said:

Apps are a safe way to learn more about your own health and, by increasing children’s knowledge in this area, they will be able to safely engage with these valuable tools.

Visit the ORCHA website to learn more about how it’s helping people to find the best and safest health and care apps.

Watch a video about the Witton Park Academy Digital Healthy Schools scheme below:

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