What’s caught my digital health interest recently

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…)

When will we learn how to evaluate complex healthcare interventions?

This editor’s piece last week entitled “Is this the last time the flat earth society will be celebrating” was very widely read – thank you readers – and prompted both further thoughts and an especially thoughtful pointer from Mike Clark.

As readers of that post will be aware, the paper referred to in the post focused heavily on the high cost/QALY supposedly shown by the Whole System Demonstrator RCT. Mike drew my attention to a paper, published both here and here, by Trine Bergmo on the different ways in which the concept of a QALY is calculated for remote patient monitoring. The thrust of the paper is that different methods give significantly different results for interventions like telehealth. To this editor there was another equally important message though, that (more…)