Finding a smartphone health app can be a challenge for both patients and physicians. A new evaluation model can help guide informed decision-making.
Finding a good health smartphone app can be a challenge. Scroll through the slides for more on the APA Smartphone App Evaluation Model.
-There are now over 250,000 health apps.
-Existing health apps are constantly changing.
-The FDA is taking a ‘hands off’ approach to most health apps.
-Static health app ratings like ‘88/100’ or “B+” don’t take into account what is unique about your case at hand or the fact that apps are always changing.
-Apps may not protect patients’ personal health information.
-App may offer incorrect and even dangerous advice.
-Apps may be ineffective and waste patients’ time and effort.
-Apps may not be able to respond to emergencies.
-Most apps are untested.
For more details and help with app evaluation, visit the American Psychiatric Association website at: https://psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/mental-health-apps. “The app evaluation model is the result of work by the APA’s smartphone app evaluation workgroup and the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society’s Health Information Technology Committee.”
-What is the business model / If free, how does it support itself?
-Who is the developer?
-Does it claim to be medical?
-Cost / In-App Purchases / Free?
-Is there advertising?
-What platforms (eg, iPhone, Android) does it work on?
-When was it last updated?
-What data is collected?
-Is personal data de-identified?
-Can you opt out of data collection?
-Can you delete data?
-Are cookies placed?
-Who is data shared with; what data is shared?
-Is data maintained on the device or the web?
-What security measures are in place? Is data encrypted on the device and server?
-Does it say it meets HIPAA?
-What does the app claim to do vs actually do?
-Is there peer-reviewed, published evidence about tool or science behind it?
-Is there any feedback from users to support claims (App store, website, review sites, etc)?
-Does the content appear of at least reasonable value?
-Is it easy to access for the patient at hand?
-Would it be easy to use on a long-term basis?
-Is it customizable?
-Does it need Internet to work?
-What platforms does it work on?
-Is it accessible for those with impaired vision or other disabilities?
Can it share data with an electronic medical record (EMR)?
Can you print out your data?
Can you export/download your data?
Is there a dashboard to view your data?
Can it share data with other user data tools (eg, Apple HealthKit, FitBit)?