How do you as a medical professional check the reliability of a mobile medical app? Does the app provide a good solution for your patient’s needs? And what about data protection? The KNMG Medical AppChecker promotes responsible use of mobile medical apps by physicians and their patients. It provides tips and information for assessing reliability, quality and compliance with privacy regulations.
The Medical App Checker (pdf) provides a framework for the assessment of the quality of mobile medical apps. By publishing the Medical App Checker, the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) promotes responsible use of mobile medical apps by physicians and their patients. The Medical AppChecker consists of three separate checks. The first check provides a framework for targeted search for a suitable mobile medical app for use by patients, physicians or caregivers. The secondcheck helps to assess the reliability and quality of a medical application prior to downloading it. The third check assists, after downloading the app, in the assessment of the protection and security of personal data.
The Medical App Checker focuses on the following categories of medical apps:
- Apps which serveas a medical device;
- Apps which facilitate the efficient tracking, storing and sharing of information (known as tracking, tracing and monitoring apps);
- Communication apps, through which, for example patients can ask their health care provider questions.
The ultimate judgment is yours
The Medical App Checker provides a comprehensive set of questions, by which you can evaluate various aspects of reliability, quality and privacy. However, it remains important to realize that as a physician you ultimately decide whether you want to use the app or recommend its use to a patient or not. The Medical AppChecker should be seen as a primary assessment tool. After the check you need to make your own assessment as to what aspects of the app are most relevant in your particular case. Depending on the medical purposes for which you or your patient want to use the app, this may vary check by check.
For developers of medical apps
The Medical App Checker is primarily intended to support doctors, but it can certainly also be used by developers and vendors of mobile medical apps. A European Code of Conduct for app developers that focuses specifically on the privacy and security requirements for mobile medical applications is currently being developed. The draft version of this code has been published at http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/meeting-privacy-code-conduct-mhealth-apps.