HealthCare SocialMedia Review #38: The Mobile Health Edition

This edition of the Health Care Social Media (HCSM) Review explores the role of mobile in health.

For those of you that know me, you know that I have an issue with the proliferation of mobile apps that has happened in the area of health. This is because mobile apps were – and arguably still are (although I think the industry is waking up a bit about the lack of proven efficacy of mobile apps for health) – considered to be the saving grace for health issues, and yet, there was no testing, evidence base or algorithmic transparency included in their development.

So the fact that the conversation around mobile health is changing (see presentations from the latest Medicine 2.0 World Congress) and we are starting to focus more on evidence base and proven efficacy is music to my ears.

So in honor of this shift in the mobile health space, here’s a roundup of the greatest mobile for health posts from the last two weeks:

Tim Gee wrote a recent post entitled, “FDA Issues Final Guidance on Mobile Medical Apps”, which is a great review of FDA’s final guidance on mobile medical apps. It states that the FDA will regulate those mobile medical apps intended to be used as an accessory to a regulated medical device or to transform a mobile platform into a regulated medical device. It’s just more evidence of the shift taking place in the mobile health app landscape.

In Susan Scutti’s post, she discusses the recent review by the University Of Colorado School Of Medicine of 229 dermatology-related mobile apps. “Despite claims that these new apps will allow a smart phone user to diagnose and in some cases track a range of skin diseases, the researchers urge caution” due to lack of regulations and guarantees.

HealthWorks Collective’s own Joan Justice’s recent post entitled, “Mobile Health Around the Globe: Acquapura Tests Drinking Water Purity”, discusses a mobile app to test the water you have access for potability.

Finally, in addition to these mobile-focused posts, there were a few other really interesting ones that I just couldn’t pass up including in this review. These are:

  • David E Williams writes about the changes that are happening in policy to curb false online reviews that mislead consumers. While the FTC has long been involved in the transparency discussion around blogger and ratings sites, it’s nice to see efforts being made to curb fake online reviews.
  • Paul Tunnah writes about Pharma’s ability to “get social media” and says that you’ll likely get many different kinds of responses to the question if asked, but not to write the industry off too soon. Moreover, while their attempts may be criticized as “clunky” and “too promotional”, the industry is trying to figure out how it fits into the social media space. 
  • Finally, Nicola Ziady writes in her post entitled, “The Online Hospital Appointment Process: Insights and Numbers”, about the patient process prior to making an appointment at a hospital. By her account, 1 in 5 patients is now booking appointments with their doctors through non-traditional means. For those of working in the healthcare system, this is crucial to understand as we need to be able to plan for the increasing need to communicate, book and follow up with patients in BOTH traditional and non-traditional ways.

So that’s the roundup this week! Hope you enjoyed. I’d welcome your thoughts on the work still left in the area of mobile health apps – or any of the great posts listed above.

Thank you for all of your contributions to this edition! I look forward to the next one!

HealthCare SocialMedia Review has information about the next edition’s host and instructions on how to submit your posts for review in future editions.

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