European Commission seeks to improve health apps

25th January 2016

The European Commission has set up a working group to look at improving the quality of mobile health apps

The group plans to draft guidelines for hospitals, healthcare workers, public authorities and consumer groups to try to ensure that the information on the apps is high quality so doctors can use them in clinical practice.

A spokesman for the commission said that there were a large number of well-being and lifestyle apps available with no clear evidence of their quality and reliability. This raised concerns about the ability of users to assess their usefulness, and potentially limiting their take up and ability to help.

He said that a lack of quality control prevented people from making informed choices of mobile health apps and that a lack of standards impeded the use of these apps in preventive care and disease management.

The new EC guidelines are expected to provide information on the purpose of an app, the standards it is based on, the methods used in validating it, and contact information for the developer.

A study published last year found that mobile health apps, including some accredited by the NHS, did not adequately protect the privacy of users' personal health information.

For the Cardiomyopathy UK app, see here.