At last everyone wants mHealth evidence – DHACA led the way!

The recent item in mobihealthnews draws attention to the article in the Journal of the American Medical Association about how people can tell which medical apps are effective, and the counterpoint discussion in the British Medical Journal on whether apps can help healthy people.

Though both are a good read, neither will come as any great surprise to DHACA members who have been following the debate on medical apps, and the work that has been taking place within DHACA on these very topics under the auspices of the mHealth apps Special Interest Group (SIG). What is especially encouraging is that, as the mobihealthnews article concludes, both articles agree with the call that DHACA first made in early 2014 for evidence of efficacy.

Thankfully, on this side of the pond at least, there is much work taking place on this topic. The Personalised Health & Care to 2020 report produced earlier this year by NHS England included a pledge to ‘kitemark’ appropriate apps (subsequently changed to ‘approve’ as ‘kitemark’ is a BSI registered trademark). Workstream 1.2 which is charged with this task has taken evidence from DHACA (download presentation here) and from many others, including the academic teams working in ICL, Leeds/Warwick and Nottingham who are working on how best to evidence efficacy. DHACA has now been invited to join the Advisory Group for this work.

Keen members will also be aware that DHACA made a major response to the EC’s Green Paper on mHealth. As a result we were invited to attend the first EC meeting held on the topic in Brussels at which it was announced that the first task will be to produce a voluntary code of conduct on safety and privacy for mHealth apps (the second, beginning in September is likely to be working out how best to evidence efficacy).

I am pleased to report that DHACA is represented on the editorial group for the new code – we had our first meeting last week, in Brussels. DHACA members with strong views on the topic are encouraged to join the mHealth apps SIG, or to get in touch with me (charles.lowe@dhaca.org.uk) as soon as possible. Come along to our next free members’ day too, on 27th April – sign up here.

To summarise therefore, DHACA is endeavouring to do its very best to represent members’ interests in this key area.

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