With over 150,000 health and fitness apps available, there's never been a greater chance to let people manage their own health.
Unbelievably, there's a negative correlation between app ratings in app stores and their effectiveness. Given this situation, health professionals need guidance on what apps to recommend to patients, and patients need reassurance that apps that they download have been checked.
PHE set us the task of defining the end-to-end service for how to develop a fledgling app assessment process that allows the use of healthcare apps to grow, while minimising the risk of harm.
The main objectives were to:
- Develop a way to properly assess apps, ultimately helping health professionals recommend them to the UK public to manage their own health and fitness
- Work out how to overcome key challenges. For example, who should assess each app? How do you make sure there are no conflictsof interest for the assessors? How do you handle apps updating over time? What about security of people's health data?
- Provide a clear picture of how people currently discover health apps, and what influences their choice
- Define what skills, incentives and processes are needed for a community of professionals to effectively assess apps and give recommendations on which to use