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Stage Four – Review domains

We look at an Apps compliance with standards, guidance and best practice in three distinct areas or domains. These are data and security, professional assurance and usability/accessibility. Each of these review areas has been designed by relevant experts and consists of a series of objective (yes/no) questions which should be capable of being answered by our reviewers from information in the App, on the relevant App Store or on a supporting website. If our reviewers cannot find evidence to support an answer from these sources they will assume that the App is not compliant with or capable of satisfying the relevant requirement.

There are often cases where an App is in fact capable of satisfying particular requirements but that this is not made clear in any obvious publicly available place. In these circumstances users are left with uncertainty as to the real position and our view is that in this circumstance they should proceed with caution.

Data privacy 
What do we look for? - This review domain looks at what information an App collects from you, what it does with that information and how secure is its handling of that data. For some Apps this is only a minor issue as they don’t gather much information. Other Apps can gather lots of very personal and sensitive information and for these it is important to know how they go about handling this.

Professional assurance 
This review area is primarily made up of ORCHA adaptation of the NICE Evidence Standards Framework. It looks at what evidence there is that the app delivers on its claimed benefits. Also that there is a suitably qualified professional or organisation behind the App or that it has been endorsed, accredited or underwritten by such an individual or organisation. It also assesses what evidence there is around user testing and the effectiveness of the App in terms of claimed health benefits. The higher the level of the App and the more sophisticated its functions, the more crucial this becomes.

This review area evaluates how usable and accessible an app is for its desired users. The section of the review looks into app design, accessibility features, usability and user experience, forums and moderation, and support options.

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