The WHO has produced an excellent report on the state of eHealth in the European region, including a review of telehealth readiness. Ericsson have produced a very interesting report confirming what I guess anyone will have realised if they’ve traveled by public transport or have children: young people downloading video content are driving a surge in data usage: there’s much detail here though. Both are well worth the read.
Mentioning Ericsson reminds that the Telegraph recently produced a summary of the 20 best-selling mobile phones of all time – takes you back, with the substantial number once produced by Nokia.
The Royal Society of Medicine has it’s fifth annual medical app conference on April 7th – numbers booked have already well exceeded last year’s sellout so they are expecting to fill this year’s much larger conference venue. The focus this year is on the many legislative, regulatory and voluntary measures being introduced that will impact medical apps – there’s still room for old favourites though, such as Richard Brady’s always-topical (more…)
At the Royal Society of Medicine we’ve just announced our next medical apps event on 7th April next year, Medical apps; mainstreaming innovation in which we feature for the first time a presentation by Pam Kato, a Professor of Serious Games, so it’s intriguing to see the iMedicalApps review of a clinician-facing serious game, iConcur, for anaesthetists.
We also have a powerful presentation on mental health apps from Ieso Digital Health which doubtless will make the same point as has been made in previous events that online mental health services typically are more effective than face:face. The abstract to the recent Lancet paper by Dr Lisa Marzano et al, examining this topic in great detail, suggests that the academics are now a long way to working out why this is the case and offers further potential improvements; aspiring mental health app developers unable to access the full paper may consider it worth paying $31.50 (or join the RSM to access it for free).
A regular at the RSM’s Appday is Dr Richard Brady’s presentation on Bad Apps, which next year will now doubtless include mention of the FTC’s recent fifth action against an app provider, UltimEyes, with deceptively claiming they their program was scientifically proven to improve the user’s eye sight.
Moving to good apps (more…)
Following on from our piece on the action taken by the FTC against two melanoma apps, it has been drawn to this editor’s attention that Mole Detective is still available, for £3.14/download, on the Google Play Store.
The relevant section of the FTC press release says:
Mole Detective Settlement and Lawsuit. Kristi Kimball and her company, New Consumer Solutions LLC, developed and first marketed Mole Detective in January 2012. U.K.-based Avrom “Avi” Lasarow and his company, L Health Ltd., took over marketing the app in August 2012. The marketers advertised the app primarily online, where it has sold in the Apple and Google app stores for as much as $4.99.
The settlement with Kimball and her company prohibits them from claiming that a device, such as an app, can detect or diagnose melanoma, unless the representation is truthful, not misleading, and supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence in the form of human clinical testing of the device. It also prohibits them from making any other misleading or unsubstantiated health claims about a product or service, and requires them to disgorge $3,930.
The agency will pursue a litigated judgment against non-settling defendants Lasarow and his company.
Especially as the organisation marketing the app is UK-based, (more…)
It is most encouraging to see that the FTC in the US has reached a settlement with two suppliers of “Melanoma Detection” apps: “In two separate cases, marketers of MelApp and Mole Detective have agreed to settlements that bar them from continuing to make such unsupported claims.” The FTC are pursuing actions against two other companies.
Echoing the requirements also of the EU’s Consumer Protection Directives as applied to health claims (notably the Misleading & Comparative Advertising Directive 2006/114EC), Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said: “Truth in advertising laws apply in the mobile marketplace.” “App developers and marketers must have scientific evidence to support any health or disease claims that they make for their apps.”
Sadly, despite a number of exposures of ‘bad apps’ that we have previously covered, as yet no action (more…)
Looking back over our predictions made on 31st December last year, it’s hard to quibble with any, and worth hanging on to those that didn’t come good this year.
Our first was
Security and data privacy issues will become a serious mHealth issue in 2014; developers failing to take great care over security and privacy issues will risk very adverse publicity and worse.
Job done: that certainly proved correct, with many being exposed as either selling or potentially selling private information. Clinicians were not immune from privacy invasion either. Here is a US summary of the issues. Attention was drawn to an EU Article 29 data protection opinion (actually published in 2013) that sought to clarify the legal framework applicable to the processing of personal data in the development, distribution and usage of apps on smart devices, and the obligations to take adequate security measures. Many apps got hacked too, including FDA-approved ones. There were also items, such as this one, demonstrating how complex the law is in this area in the US. In the EU, the arrival of the Data Protection Regulation in 2015 (now some say 2016) will undoubtedly improve data privacy significantly, though the failure to treat data used for health purposes differently from (more…)
This is a brief summary of the main points made at an event on medical apps held at the Royal Society of Medicine on 10th April 2014.
First up was Prof Mike Kelly, Director of the Centre of Public Health at NICE who spoke about how apps could change behaviour. He described what he called “system 1”, the rational reflective system that he associated with Apollo, and “system” 2 the impulsive automatic system that he associated with Dionysus. System 1 is most often targeted by behaviour change, however most people find thinking hard so spend most of their time in system 2 mode, so it is much more effective to “nudge” the automatic system 2, if you can.
Humans are relational creatures, not billiard balls, so (more…)
This series of posts covers some work I have been doing over the past three months: attempting to answer the question of how best to improve the perception by clinicians and patients of the efficacy of health-related apps. This work has been done for the i-Focus project, part of the Technology Strategy Board’s dallas programme.
Part I attempted to summarise the EU regulations covering health-related apps. The point was made that any health-related app must comply with data protection and consumer protection requirements, irrespective of whether the risk level is sufficient for it to be classified as a ‘medical device’. Where an app is classified as a ‘medical device’ it also has to be classified so that the appropriate adjudication work can be determined for it to receive a CE mark (Class I, lowest risk, requires least investigation; Class III, highest risk, requires greatest investigation).
This post summarises the principal findings from discussions with a very wide range of potential stakeholders, (more…)
Editor Charles on what to watch for in 2014
As we have covered previously (and here), there’s no shortage of forecasts that the mHealth market will continue to grow faster, or of penetrating comments like that that won Research2guidance a What in the Blue Blazes award that smartphone user penetration will be the main driver for the mobile health (mHealth) uptake. mHealth apps continue to proliferate – there’s even shortly to be a Pebble apps store. There are a few straws in the wind that not is all well though – for example, as we covered recently, Happtique ceased, at least temporarily, its apps approval process, citing security concerns. Elsewhere Fierce Mobile described serious data privacy issues with the iPharmacy app, and the ICO recently produced security guidelines for app developers in the UK. The EU is also strengthening data privacy, moving from individual country directives to a pan-EU regulation. This leads us to our first prediction (more…)