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How can clinicians, specialty societies and others evaluate and improve the quality of apps for patient use?

How can clinicians, specialty societies and others evaluate and improve the quality of apps for patient use?
How can clinicians, specialty societies and others evaluate and improve the quality of apps for patient use?

Background: Health-related apps have great potential to enhance health and prevent disease globally, but their quality currently varies too much for clinicians to feel confident about recommending them to patients. The major quality concerns are dubious app content, loss of privacy associated with widespread sharing of the patient data they capture, inaccurate advice or risk estimates and the paucity of impact studies. This may explain why current evidence about app use by people with health-related conditions is scanty and inconsistent. Main text: There are many concerns about health-related apps designed for use by patients, such as poor regulation and implicit trust in technology. However, there are several actions that various stakeholders, including users, developers, health professionals and app distributors, can take to tackle these concerns and thus improve app quality. This article focuses on the use of checklists that can be applied to apps, novel evaluation methods and suggestions for how clinical specialty organisations can develop a low-cost curated app repository with explicit risk and quality criteria. Conclusions: Clinicians and professional societies must act now to ensure they are using good quality apps, support patients in choosing between available apps and improve the quality of apps under development. Funders must also invest in research to answer important questions about apps, such as how clinicians and patients decide which apps to use and which app factors are associated with effectiveness.

Digital healthcare, e-Health, Evaluation methods, Health apps, Health policy, mHealth, Mobile phone, Quality and safety, Quality checklist, Regulation, Smart phone
Wyatt, Jeremy C.
8361be5a-fca9-4acf-b3d2-7ce04126f468
Wyatt, Jeremy C.
8361be5a-fca9-4acf-b3d2-7ce04126f468

Wyatt, Jeremy C. (2018) How can clinicians, specialty societies and others evaluate and improve the quality of apps for patient use? BMC Medicine, 16 (1). (doi:10.1186/s12916-018-1211-7).

Record type: Review

Abstract

Background: Health-related apps have great potential to enhance health and prevent disease globally, but their quality currently varies too much for clinicians to feel confident about recommending them to patients. The major quality concerns are dubious app content, loss of privacy associated with widespread sharing of the patient data they capture, inaccurate advice or risk estimates and the paucity of impact studies. This may explain why current evidence about app use by people with health-related conditions is scanty and inconsistent. Main text: There are many concerns about health-related apps designed for use by patients, such as poor regulation and implicit trust in technology. However, there are several actions that various stakeholders, including users, developers, health professionals and app distributors, can take to tackle these concerns and thus improve app quality. This article focuses on the use of checklists that can be applied to apps, novel evaluation methods and suggestions for how clinical specialty organisations can develop a low-cost curated app repository with explicit risk and quality criteria. Conclusions: Clinicians and professional societies must act now to ensure they are using good quality apps, support patients in choosing between available apps and improve the quality of apps under development. Funders must also invest in research to answer important questions about apps, such as how clinicians and patients decide which apps to use and which app factors are associated with effectiveness.

Text
s12916-018-1211-7 - Version of Record
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 8 November 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 3 December 2018
Published date: 3 December 2018
Keywords: Digital healthcare, e-Health, Evaluation methods, Health apps, Health policy, mHealth, Mobile phone, Quality and safety, Quality checklist, Regulation, Smart phone

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 427123
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/427123
PURE UUID: 1ef2ba60-1427-4f35-92e5-1817a42226d9
ORCID for Jeremy C. Wyatt: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7008-1473

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 03 Jan 2019 17:30
Last modified: 17 Sep 2019 00:32

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