Insufficient clinical involvement in health app development

A new paper accepted for publication in the British Journal of Dermatology calls for greater clinical involvement in the production of health apps.

The authors of the paper, titled “Medical Professional Involvement in Smartphone Apps in Dermatology“, analyse the descriptions given for dermatology apps found in four public app stores, and find that direct references to healthcare professionals’ involvement are lacking in 67% of cases, calling into question the safety and reliability of apps for diagnostic purposes, among other risks.

The paper concludes that simple measures should be introduced to improve the accountability of health apps, including authorship, regulatory approval, quality marks and external review.

The paper is certainly well timed, following the recent publication of the d4 paper “Regulation of health apps: a practical guide“, a new MEDDEV regarding standalone software as a medical device, the appointment of a new Dirctor of Medical Devices at the MHRA and the annoucement that Happtique plans to provide an independent review process and quality mark for health apps.

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