WASHINGTON – A new multi-stakeholder collaboration will work to improve the quality, safety and effectiveness of mobile health apps in a space where there has been little guidance or oversight.
The new alliance, Xcertia, is supported by the American Medical Association, the American Heart Association, DHX Group and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. It will not certify mobile health apps, but it will encourage developers and users to apply its guidelines and principles.
“There’s a lot of good content out there already,” said Dr. Michael Hodgkins, vice president and chief medical information officer for the AMA. “What’s missing is the evidence. No one has taken a comprehensive look at this and said ‘These are the things that need to be considered.’”
The alliance will incorporate feedback from members in a consensus-driven process to advance the body of knowledge for mobile health apps around clinical content, usability, privacy and security, interoperability and evidence of efficacy.
Hodgkins said the new alliance will look at the current mobile health app market to create and deliver detailed principles and best practices for developers and consumers.
“We’ll be asking questions like, ‘What’s the underlying evidence that supports what the app says it does?’ and ‘What will contribute to patient engagement?,’” said Hodgkins.
With the four non-profit organizations as founding members of Xcertia, the alliance will seek additional supportive members from the consumer, developer, payer, clinician, academia and home health care spaces. It will build a board of directors of about 15 individuals.
The alliance’s information and work will be published and available to the public on its website to advise and inform users of their choices, Hodgkins said.
“The mobile health app market is growing quickly,” said Hodgkins. “The home health area is especially ripe for these solutions as they are moving from analog to digital solutions and are able to engage patients virtually.”