JAMA Paper Calls for Improved mHealth App Review

JAMA Paper Calls for Improved mHealth App ReviewIn 2013, mobile health applications on iOS and Android exploded to record prevalence and popularity. But with this remarkable growth comes increasing scrutiny.

As the market for mHealth apps continues to balloon, many industry watchers believe these applications – specifically those that aim to treat or monitor serious medical conditions – will spend much of this year and next under the media’s and government’s microscope.

The boom in mobile healthcare apps has made it essential for a streamlined and impartial certification process for mHealth apps, say the authors of a thought-provoking new paper published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The paper is authored by Adam C. Powell, PhD., president of Payer+Provider Syndicate. Assisting with the paper were Adam B. Landman and David W. Bates, of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Partners Information Systems.

“If we can develop mechanisms to assure clinicians of the quality and safety of mHealth apps, we foresee a potential future in which physicians regularly prescribe apps to their patients, much in the way that they prescribe drugs today,” Powell insists.

“App certification and review could potentially be done by both for-profit and non-profit entities, in a similar manner to which review occurs in many other industries,” the report authors propose. “The short reviews found in app stores are currently inadequate, as they do not contain any sort of comprehensive clinical or security review. When patients use an app, they need to feel confident that the medical information provided is accurate and that their personal data is being handled securely.”

To review the paper in its entirety, click here.

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