Apps, apps, apps – health, care, wellbeing: must-reads for developers

Last week we covered two calls for health & care app developers: the ADASS apps event, which is looking for apps presenters, and PatientView which is looking for developers’ feedback on what they need when developing health & wellbeing apps; today we focus on medical app news.

PatientView has just released the results of their previous survey entitled “What do patients and carers need in health apps – but are not getting?” This analyses the views of 1,130 patient and carer groups worldwide. The needs and challenges raised were then discussed in a multi-stakeholder meeting held to help define concepts for new apps that address patient and carer unmet real needs. An essential read for health & care apps developers.

Staying just a little longer on statistics, the CTIA resource library has some interesting primarily US-oriented items including a recent item entitled “One in Five US Consumers Use Mobile Apps for Exercise Tracking”.

As many will be aware, this editor has argued for 18 months now in these columns (& elsewhere) for an official approval process for medical apps that includes a measure of efficacy, so they can be compared, where appropriate, with other forms of intervention such as drugs (in the case of treatment for depression, anxiety and pain relief). Workstream 1.2 of the National Information Board has now published their roadmap (disclosure: this editor is on the Advisory Board of 1.2 and two others) which describes how they plan to tackle this topic.

At the same time MIT has now announced the establishment of the Hacking Medicine Institute. This will assess whether digital health products and services really work and, if they do, help them to prove their efficacy to consumers, doctors, and insurers, possibly introducing a little competition which should speed things up nicely. (For a more detailed review of the workstreams including DHACA’s involvement, go to the DHACA website blog – you will need to become a member if you aren’t already, however it’s free).

The Australians have also just produced the MARS (Mobile App Rating Scale) for ranking medical apps. They conclude that: (more…)

“Mainstreaming medical apps; reducing NHS costs; improving patient outcomes” – a brief summary

What follows is a brief summary of the presentations given at the Royal Society of Medicine’s third “Appday”, held on 9th April 2015. All three events have been sell-outs.

Anne Hayes, Head of Market Development at BSI, opened the event with an excellent presentation on the then shortly-to-be-finalised PAS 277 on mHealth apps (now available, free, here). She particularly welcomed the opportunity to present to clinicians, as too often her audience was primarily technologists. The presentation was especially impressive because Anne had only agreed to do the presentation the previous Friday, following realisation by both MHRA & NICE that proximity to the election meant neither could present. Anne explained that PAS 277, as a Publicly Available Specification, is not mandatory – it is essentially a checklist for developers and purchasers of medical apps to consider.

Julie Bretland, CEO of OurMobileHealth, then presented on the preliminary conclusions of the NIB Workstream 1.2 on how best to approve medical apps. (more…)