More on Happtique’s health app certification process

By: Brian Dolan | Mar 8, 2012        

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HapptiqueIn January Happtique, a healthcare-focused appstore, announced its plan to create a certification program for apps that would help the medical community determine which of the tens of thousands of health-related mobile apps were clinically appropriate and technically sound. The company has tapped a multi-disciplinary team to develop its certification program — a practicing physician, nurse, patient, technologist, and an expert in healthcare credentialing and certification are all onboard. The program, which is expected to be up and running within six months, will be open to all developers and will be funded by developer application fees.

This week Happtique’s certification process team published a letter to the mobile health industry that explained its initial thoughts on the project ahead. Here’s how the team has conceived its initial set of issues for the review process:

“For the app review process, we will be considering a range of issues, including how apps will be submitted for review; how apps will be assigned to reviewers, as well as reviewer credentials, recruitment, and compensation; length of certification and requirements (if any) for recertification; feedback on apps that don’t qualify for certification; and certification fees,” Happtiques panel wrote.

The panel will also review apps for performance — both whether the apps are clinically and technically sound. Here’s how the panel has describes that aspect:

“With respect to performance standards, we will be focusing on such issues as the source of the app’s content (e.g., clinical/evidence basis and/or sponsor); the extent to which the app does what it’s designed to do; how well the app functions from a technical perspective (e.g., reliability, usability, malware); if relevant, how well the app addresses security and privacy issues; and value from the end-user perspective (e.g., healthcare professionals, patients).”

More details on Happtique’s certification process in the open letter to the industry below:

By the Happtique App Certification Program Blue Ribbon Panel:

Howard Luks, MD, Chairman
“e-Patient Dave” deBronkart
Shuvo Roy, PhD
Franklin Shaffer, EdD, RN, FAAN

March 5, 2012

On Friday, February 17, the Happtique App Certification Program Blue Ribbon Panel held its first meeting and began formulating a set of issues that need to be addressed as we embark on the development of Happtique’s certification program. The panel reviewed the processes necessary to ensure success and began to lay out a framework to solicit feedback from all members of the mHealth community.

In general, we view our task as evolving into two broad areas—process and standards.

For the app review process, we will be considering a range of issues, including how apps will be submitted for review; how apps will be assigned to reviewers, as well as reviewer credentials, recruitment, and compensation; length of certification and requirements (if any) for recertification; feedback on apps that don’t qualify for certification; and certification fees.

With respect to performance standards, we will be focusing on such issues as the source of the app’s content (e.g., clinical/evidence basis and/or sponsor); the extent to which the app does what it’s designed to do; how well the app functions from a technical perspective (e.g., reliability, usability, malware); if relevant, how well the app addresses security and privacy issues; and value from the end-user perspective (e.g., healthcare professionals, patients).

We at Happtique want this to be an open and transparent process. The panel includes a practicing physician, nurse, patient, technologist, and experts in healthcare credentialing and certification—key perspectives necessary to make this project a success. As we proceed, we will solicit feedback on the elements of this program from all participants in the mHealth community—healthcare professionals and organizations, developers, patients, caregivers, and anyone else with good ideas. In that spirit, we welcome comments on the issues that we should be considering regarding the app review process and performance standards. Please submit them to appcertification@happtique.com.