- The American Medical Association wants U.S. physicians to adopt a new set of principles aimed at helping to integrate mobile health apps, trackers, and sensors in medical care.
- The principles were approved by physicians during the group's recent interim meeting in Orlando.
- Apps should comply with patient privacy and security laws and provide a standard privacy notice if they collect, store, or transmit personal health information, the AMA Council on Medical Services reported.
More than 165,000 mHealth apps are available to patients, according to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. However, not all mHealth apps are FDA-regulated and safety and performance can vary widely.
“Without ensuring that there is strong and sufficient evidence that provides clinical validation to mHealth apps and associated devices, trackers and sensors, physicians will not fully integrate mHealth apps into their practices,” the Institute's recent report says. “More investment is needed in expanding the evidence base necessary to show accuracy, effectiveness, safety and security of mHealth apps."
The guidance on coverage, payment and financial incentive decisions for mHealth apps and devices, which is further evidence of the increasing role of digital technologies in healthcare, includes supporting a valid patient-doctor relationship and following evidence-based practice guidelines.
A survey commissioned by the AMA and released in September showed physicians are eager to use digital tools — including mobile apps, wearables, and remote monitoring. Among the potential benefits cited were improving practice efficiencies, patient safety and diagnoses, as well as reducing burnout.