Article

Medical apps for smartphones: lack of evidence undermines quality and safety. Evid Based Med

Department of Neurology, Academic Medical Center-University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Evidence-based medicine 08/2012; 18(3). DOI: 10.1136/eb-2012-100885
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Increasing numbers of healthcare professionals are using smartphones and their associated applications (apps) in daily clinical care. While these medical apps hold great potential for improving clinical practice, little is known about the possible dangers associated with their use. Breaches of patient confidentiality, conflicts of interests and malfunctioning clinical decision-making apps could all negatively impact on patient care. We propose several strategies to enhance the development of evidence-based medical apps while retaining their open nature. The increasing use of medical apps calls for broader discussion across medicine's organising and accrediting bodies. The field of medical apps is currently one of the most dynamic in medicine, with real potential to change the way evidence-based healthcare is delivered in the future. Establishing appropriate regulatory procedures will enable this potential to be fulfilled, while at all times ensuring the safety of the patient.

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Available from: Benjamin Jelle Visser, May 24, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Health-related mobile applications (apps) have been shown to improve the quality of health and patient care. Their use in clinical and health-related environments is becoming more considerable. The number of health-related apps available for download has considerably increased, while the regulatory position of this new industry is not well known. Despite this lack of regulation, measuring the usability score of these apps is not difficult. We compared two samples of twenty health-related applications each. One of the samples contained the apps with top-rated usability scores, and the other contained the apps with lowest-rated usability scores. We found that a good usability score correlates with a better medical reliability of the app's content (p<0.005). In the period in which a valid regulation is still lacking, calculation and attribution of usability scores to mobile applications could be used to identify apps with better medical quality. However, the usability score method ought to be rigorous and should not be rounded off with a simple five stars rating (as is the case in the classic app stores).
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    • "A study by Lister et al. [4] revealed that commercial bias of health-related apps is a general concern of consumers. With currently no official certification, peer review system or regulatory guidance in place [30], quality, reliability and safety of apps can only be guaranteed by developers themselves, who are nevertheless interested in financial success of their apps. A recent study by Martínez-Pérez et al. [55] "
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