Medical apps for chronic diseases have quality issues

KEY TAKEAWAY: Dr. James Madara, CEO of the American Medical Association (AMA), during the 2016 Annual AMA meeting said “the current landscape of medical IT innovation has lack of evidence and medical oversight in a new areas of healthcare that could present potential dangers for patients.

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the University of Michigan School of Medicine addressed these issues with a publication in Health Affairs. Singh & Drouin et. al published the article “Many Mobile Health Apps Target High-Need, High-Cost Populations, But Gaps Remain” to review apps marketed to high-need, high-cost (HNHC) patients. The authors used specific criteria to determine the utility,

This study provides interesting data on the current landscape of mHealth. Consumer app store reviews correlated poorly with clinical utility and usability scores recorded by the study reviewers. 121 apps in the sample size of 137 had a function to record health information. Only 28 of these responded appropriately to dangerous user input.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be.  The majority of physicians have not bought into medical apps because of the potential danger of their inaccurate data.  The other issue is that even when apps are free they still have to have a great user experience.

Pharma & Tech: The Anwer?

For medical apps to be recognized as real clinical measurement tools these things need to happen:

1ne: They have to be developed by pharma and tech companies working together.

2wo: They have to be tested the same way we test new drugs to ensure that they both lead to better clinical outcomes and that there is proof that patients will use them.

To this day I don’t know of any physician who is going to make a diagnosis and prescribe treatments based on mobile health apps.  They will usually request in house tests before treating patients.

Pharma needs to integrate tech companies into their organizations and tech companies need to reach out to pharma .  With all the M&A’s going on it’s time that a forward thinking pharma company purchased a tech company who could help them conquer the mobile app space.

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