BMG: Inferior quality and performance in medicine apps

There are many health and medicine apps on the market, but unfortunately few have a true diagnostic and therapeutic claim. This was the result of a study by the Peter L. Reichertz Institute for Medical Informatics funded by the Federal Ministry of Health. The Federal Ministry of Health published the results of the study in a recent press release.

A new study by the Federal Ministry of Health now examined the quality of so-called medical apps. Many of the apps studied do not meet any real diagnostic and therapeutic requirements. In addition, manufacturers often do not adhere to the data protection regulations.(Image: Denys Prykhodov / fotolia.com) A new study by the Federal Ministry of Health now examined the quality of so-called medical apps. Many of the apps studied do not meet any real diagnostic and therapeutic requirements. In addition, manufacturers often do not adhere to the data protection regulations.(Image: Denys Prykhodov / fotolia.com)

apps need clear quality and safety standards
health apps should normally support and help people, explains Federal Health Minister Hermann Gröhe( CDU) in the latest press release. The politician calls for an agreement on "clear quality and safety standards" for patients, doctors and app developers. There are already more than 100,000 different apps on the topic of medicine and health. The huge selection does not make it easy for citizens and medical professionals to identify good deals between the many bad apps, Gröhe adds. There is a kind of wild growth in the app market at the moment. This must be contained, the researchers say. Better ways to identify meaningful apps are needed. The apps are often geared to short-term success, explains the study director and deputy head of the Reichertz Institute, Urs-Vito Albrecht. The institute is operated jointly by a cooperation of the Technical University of Braunschweig and the Hannover Medical School.

study provides starting points for further discussions
The development of apps for smartphones and tablets needs to change radically, and manufacturers urgently need to develop programs that are secure and trustworthy, the researchers say. We also need more detailed research on how such apps work."Basically, the evidence on the subject is thin, which makes an objective assessment of the benefits of the technology immensely difficult," explains study leader Albrecht. The current study should provide a basis for a scientific review of the sector. The research called "Chances and Risks of Health Apps"( Charismha) provides several starting points for further discussions between physicians, policy makers, industry and users.

apps often do not comply with data protection regulations
Data protection is a major problem of the so-called medical apps, explains the Federal Ministry of Health. Often, apps do not comply with data protection regulations, according to the ministry's communication. There is an urgent need to better help consumers, the Reichertz Institute experts add. Many people see apps as a kind of incentive to eat or move healthier. Some apps also help ill people take medication. For this reason, it is important that stakeholders ensure that the products also bring a real benefit to patients, the researchers demand. Such apps would then have to go to the market as soon as possible."The presented study is an important basis for the expert dialogue with experts and responsible persons in the health sector, in which we now want to enter", explains the Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe

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Diagnostic and Therapy Apps should be promoted
The study also recommends promoting the more advanced scientific evaluation of prevention apps, as well as apps for diagnosis and therapy, to provide more evidence. Whether so-called medical apps should be included in the standard care of the statutory health insurance, must be checked in principle, according to the researchers. Before that, however, it had to be clarified whether the effectiveness of apps can be evaluated in today's standard clinical trials, the researchers add.(as)

Study: Reviewing Medical Apps - Few Keep to Privacy
More and more apps are being offered today to help us monitor and improve our health. But many of these so-called medicine apps are not keeping their promises, a study found. Often, such programs do not comply with data protection regulations.

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