Is that app certified?

With more than 1 million apps available in the Apple Store alone, it goes without saying that there are a lot of options in the marketplace. While five-star rating and the “best of” lists can help consumers make a decision, how do they know that an app is trustworthy?


Now consumers can ask: is that app certified?



Happtique, a mobile-health solutions company and subsidiary of the Greater New York Hospital Association, has released the names of the apps that have passed their first-ever Health App Certification Program (HACP).


The HACP is a voluntary program which enables developers to submit their mhealth apps to be tested in the areas of privacy, security, operability and content. This certification was developed to increase transparency in the marketplace in terms of quality and safety.  After passing the HACP program, the certification is valid for two years. 


During the development of the program, Happtique worked with leaders across multiple sects of the healthcare industry as well as with federal agencies involved in the regulatory aspects. 


“When developing the HACP, we looked both to healthcare accrediting bodies like the Joint Commission and National Committee for Quality Assurance, as well as consumer trust marks like the Good Housekeeping seal,” Corey Ackerman, president and COO at Happtique to Associations Now.


Would you be more likely to download an app with the HACP seal of approval on it? Are certified apps going to be an emerging trend in 2014? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter: @FountainheadMob.


mHealth slotted as a major trend for 2014

A new survey has found that mHealth, along with the adoption of the cloud in healthcare and regulatory environments, is set to be a key subject in 2014 and into the future. 


Research firm Frost & Sullivan surveyed 1,835 executives across 40 countries worldwide for their 2013 Search for Growth Survey.  The resulting report predicted that the rise of new technologies capable of combining medical devices into a connected platform would reduce manpower and decrease errors.  



mHealth expansion is supported by this predication.  Mobile devices are resulting in advancements in applications to address priorities.  "In the area of regulatory environment, recent health-care reforms and policy initiatives across many countries have emphasized the importance of quality of care more than quantity," the report noted as published by "In the absence of a sufficient proof of clinical benefit, reimbursements may pose a major hurdle."


Are you a fan of mHealth technology? What role do you think it will play in 2014? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter: @FountainheadMob


FDA, ONC and FCC expected to release health IT report in early 2014

A health IT strategy may be released by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Office of National Coordinator of Health IT (ONC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) early in 2014 reports MedPage Today


The health IT community has been patiently waiting for this report which will outline strategies and recommendations resulting from the FDA Safety and Innovation Act.  The law states that the report will outline "proposed strategy and recommendations on an appropriate, risk-based regulatory framework pertaining to health information technology, including mobile medical applications, that promotes innovation, protects patient safety, and avoids regulatory duplication."


The Director of the ONC’s Office of Policy and Planning, Jodi Daniel, JD, MPH, shared that the report will be released for comment in early 2014 and expects it will not have answered every question – it is meant to be continually revised with input.  The organizations behind the report have convened a workgroup to help flesh out ideas and craft the report.  A public docket was also opened for additional comments. 


While this report will not focus on the regulation of mobile medical apps, the ONC has collaborated with the FDA to ensure the guidance of innovation and the development of tools for this space.  The report, however, is expected to focus on patient safety.


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Senior citizens are looking for additional mHealth tools

A new study from Accenture Research has found that older Americans are looking to the internet and mobile technology for health-related tools and information. 


Of the 9,015 adults surveyed in nine countries, 1,470 were US seniors 65 and over.  A separate survey was conducted of 200 Medicare consumers.  Those in the Medicare set used the internet as a tool at least once per day.  Additionally, 91 percent use email frequently and 73 percent search the internet on a frequent basis.  Thirty percent regularly use social media sites. 



Accenture found that seniors were making use of the health data services offered to them and were interested in more options.  Sixty-seven percent of US seniors believe that accessing medical information online was very important to them. The study also found that 56 percent of Medicare customers have utilized their health plan’s website within the past year.  However, only 28 percent of seniors have full access to their electronic medical records. 


Seniors are also interested in prescription refill services, booking appointments and email access to providers.  Other interests important to seniors are the ability to access their medical history and virtual doctor visits without a co-pay. 


This will mark a shift in the way providers and health plans interact with patients.  Digital options are a must if they are to remain competitive and want to continue to attract this demographic.


Tips to creating a great app

As the New Year approaches, many companies may be looking to finally develop that app they had on the back burner. Before you start development on your organization’s app, take into consideration the lessons and experience of Sulit’s user experience engineer Micael Andrei Diaz. 


Speak the users’ language: One of the biggest lessons learned by Diaz is to ensure you understand the users and potential users of your app.  When you are in the development stage, look into your demographic. Once you’ve identified them, learn about what your target audience is looking for and ensure you’ve added those features.


Help users find the app’s value:  When Sulit developed their app, they recognized that users hate to jump between screens before they get to the information they need.  They also hate filling out forms. That’s why many apps use logins with social media sites; it mitigates many of these forms. 


See how other apps evolve: The web experience is something you should factor into the development of an app. Review other apps and identify how you can add personality to them.  Test your research ideas and see if they work for your demographic.


Measure: Take the time to measure all of your data, as it will help you find the areas in which you need to improve.  Use analytics to see who is using your app and who isn’t to identify ways to cast a wider net.  


User feedback: Implement ways to get user feedback from random users. While your team may believe your app is amazing, ensure that the people who are using it view it in the same light.