As a part of the BaltCityPrevention project, one of the goals is to test tools for e-health application design. Instead of always designing a new application from scratch, there is also a possibility to use ready-made solutions – many which exist for example in the mHealth world. Of course, in all cases, one must bear in mind that they should be reliable and validated solutions.
How can we do ensure patients and physicians use high-quality mHealth apps?
The models commonly used are:
- Regulatory approval by a federal agency
- Accreditation by an organization with deeming authority under federal law or regulation
- Voluntary accreditation by a nonprofit organization
- The European Union’s (EU’s) decentralized system driven by its member states.
How to categorize the mHealth apps?
For example, they can be sorted into wide categories such as:
- Information apps, which provide the public with general health information;
- Diagnostic apps, which are used to input patient information and help guide the physician to a diagnosis;
- Control apps, which allow remote monitoring and control of medical devices such as insulin pumps; and
- Adapter apps, which essentially transform a smartphone into a mobile medical device
…or broken down to smaller levels and be rated based on specific functionalities. This can be done by using different frameworks (E.g. NICE – Evidence standards framework for digital health technologies; MAST – for telemedicine solutions).
Different regulations exist in different countries. Therefore, some apps what are in compliance with the rules of the country providing the certification that the app is safe to use may not be the same in another country.
Some countries have created directories that provide an overview of apps in healthcare with a short overview (and in some cases also provide a grading system). All the directories have disclaimers accompanying what they do and do not take into account (usually, but not always displayed on their websites).
Some examples of app directories around the world:
- ORCHA (UK)
- SMART Health IT (USA)
- National Health Service (NHS) Apps library (UK)
- HealthOn (Germany)
- mHealthBelgium (Belgium)
- Apps with AppSaludable Quality Seal (Spain)
15 June 2022
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