The American Heart Association, the American Medical Association, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, and DHX Group have joined forces to create a nonprofit named Xcertia. The newly formed company’s objective is to create an evidence-based resource for mobile health and medical apps.
While there are current resources that provide in-depth professionally vetted coverage of these apps, this site for example, they’re mostly industry focused.
Xcertia will give consumers the ability to get information without having to sift through thousands of personal and possibly false reviews.
With the passing of the 21st Century Cures Act, the U.S. government has made it clear that they — via the FDA — do not want to regulate health apps, unless they pose a risk to public health. Although some hospitals have systems to prescribe apps to patients, consumers have the ability to download the same apps without supervision on their own wherever and whenever. Xcertia wants to make sure that those apps are, in fact, worth the time, effort, and risk of use.
The Xcertia group hopes that other medical organizations will join them in this quest. One potential backer could possibly be a company like Apple who currently has the strictest guidelines for health and wellness apps. The convergence of the companies already involved gives hope to those who want a standard for apps, especially with the medical community’s increasing reliance on technology to provide the best outcomes for patients.
Executive VP of the AMA and CEO James L. Madara, M.D. says that the AMA is involved because patients look to physicians to “make sense of mobile health technology.”
On Xcertia’s website, they state that they “will not engage in certifying mHealth apps,” but will develop principles and guidelines in development and curation of them.
While Xcertia will not participate in certifying mHealth apps, it will encourage others to apply its principles and guidance in the development and curation of safe and effective mobile health apps.
This isn’t a sprawling reform of health app regulations by any means, but this new oversight is a step in the right direction.