June 19, 2013
An editorial in PLOS Medicine argues that the wide adoption of mobile health technologies face three major obstacles.
The first is interoperability, that is, the ability of an app or device or platform to exchange data with other systems in a common format using common protocols. While health related apps range in complexity from text message reminders to sending microscopy images to your doctor, they all need to be able to connect with an electronic health record.
The second is open standards, which relates closely to interoperability. Currently multiple standards exist for health care data, but even those created by nonprofit organizations are “closed.” The article suggests that a governing body such as the World Health Organization certify open standards.
The third is evaluation. As we reported earlier this year a meta study showed that the majority of trials on the effectiveness of mHealth apps and programs have been of poor quality. A rigorous and consistent scheme for evaluating mobile health initiatives is needed.