eHealth Week 2017

My visit to eHealth Week 2017

I just thought I’d share my thoughts on the UK eHealth Week event that I attended last week. There seemed to be a good turn-out at the event and I got the opportunity to listen to some excellent speakers. They shared their views on digital health and how the NHS’ ‘Global Digital Exemplars’ (GDEs) are using new technology to create a positive digital experience for patients and improve healthcare outcomes.

In terms of some of key themes that were being addressed, I picked up on the following broad discussion areas:

  • Involve the patient in the solution design
  • Data security
  • Interoperability & sustainability
  • Collaboration with innovative SMEs
  • Skills & strong leadership

Involve the patient in the solution design

I listened to a number of talks in Theatre 2 which was the NHS Digital: Nursing stream and it was great to hear the likes of Deborah El-Sayed (Director of Digital & Multi Channel Development for NHS England) , Dr Victoria Betton (mHabitat) and Rafael Sorribas (NHS Digital) all mention that successful digital health assets all have one thing in common – they’ve been built with significant input from the HCPs and patients that are going to be using them. Victoria Betton provided some great examples of how digital tech was being used to improve communication between HCPs and young people, and signposted her audience to an Ofcom report titled: Children and parents: media use and attitudes report 2016

We also heard from the inspirational Molly Watts, who suffers from dual sensory impairment and she delivered a great presentation on how health tech and in particular smart hearing aid technology has improved the quality of her life.

Rafael Sorribas, gave a detailed account of how the NHS are trying to tackle ‘digital disruption’ and why it’s important to “integrate around the patient” when designing a digital health ecosystem. Along with Rachel Murphy they also spoke about the new NHS Choices; the Beta version of the new Health Apps Library and how the NHS are now looking at collecting more clinical evidence surrounding the performance of various health apps listed.

Cyber-security and data protection

As you can imagine there was a lot of debate around the challenges of securing patient and clinical data and whether or not ‘The Cloud’ was a safe place to be for the NHS. @CLARUSecure posted: The private nature of health data means #healthcare organisations find it hard to benefit from #cloud storage & processing resources #EHWK17

It was amusing to see that the Security & Counter Terror Expo was also taking place at Olympia on the same 2 days. In fact one guy tweeted: Last time I was at London Olympia it was old job – counter terror expo. This time #EHWK17 health digital. Common theme is #CyberSecurity!

With patient health data being worth ten times more than your credit card data on the black market it’s one area the NHS can’t afford to get wrong. Joost Bruggeman from Siilo even touched upon the dangers of using WhatsApp on the unplugged stage.

Interoperability & sustainability

Another topic that drew a lot of interest and generated much debate was around interoperability and building sustainable digital platforms. Once of the main IT challenges that the NHS faces is that many Trusts use legacy IT systems that have not been built using Open Source software. The absence of standards that mandate interoperability between digital health solutions and devices impedes innovation and economies of scale. This also prevents the NHS’ investments in technology from being well utilised and limits the scalability and sustainability of such solutions. It was great to hear one GDE talk about what ‘digital transformation and maturity’ looks like for them and how they are leading the way in using open source software and creating patient focused digital platforms like MyHealthLocker

Collaboration with innovative SMEs

Being a small business owner I was delighted to see a good number of small businesses showing off their health tech at the show and to also hear how some Trusts are making it easier for innovative micro businesses to do business with them. Kate Warriner (Healthy Liverpool Digital Lead) from the Liverpool CCG stated “we’ve actively engaged with local SME digital agencies to help implement our digital transformation plan”. She talked in detail about the digital assets they’ve had developed, such as their E Sepsis system and the audience particularly enjoyed the highly entertaining Healthy Liverpool Programme video.

Skills & strong leadership

As we know change doesn’t happen easily without strong leadership and a well delivered training programme to help up-skill staff and end-users.

It was great to hear Steven Roberts, Strategic Transformation Director and Vice Chair at Barclays UK close the show. As we know there are many similarities between the financial services and healthcare sectors, namely they are both highly regulated and they handle a lot of highly sensitive customer data. He spoke about how their Eagle Labs are an example of how technology can be used to benefit service users and how they are helping their customers and colleagues with the move to ‘digital’.

My closing thoughts

In recent years, health tech has evolved significantly. Without doubt users are increasingly relying on a multitude of health tech to help manage physical and mental conditions, prevent disease and share information with doctors and consultants. There is still a long way to go for the NHS and there are some complex challenges that still lie ahead in respect of security, interoperability and measuring health app quality but I came away from the event feeling more confident. I saw tangible evidence that real progress was being made by the NHS in adopting health tech especially by the GDEs and hopefully they’ll be able to create a digital roadmap for other Trusts to follow. And for a small digital healthcare agency like us, it was great to hear how the NHS is engaging with the SME community and making the procurement process more small business friendly. This is a real positive for small specialist agencies like ourselves as it gives us the confidence to keep on investing in digital health R&D and training – because we can clearly see that there is real commercial demand for our skills, services and products from healthcare organisations like the NHS who want expert help with their digital transformation.

Thanks for reading, @DamonL

BTW – Why not download our latest white paperHow mHealth is improving health & social care

Text Messaging

Can Text Messaging Improve Patient Engagement Outcomes?

Text messagesMedication non adherence is a significant problem, it always has been and it will continue to be so with an estimated cost to the NHS of £600m* a year! So what can be done to improve patient outcomes? Changing patient behaviour is key to this and there have been a number of clinically led studies conducted that demonstrate that apps can help to improve compliance.  But, when looking at patient engagement, perhaps there is another solution where a person-centric approach is more likely to improve the odds of success. A successful engagement programme needs healthcare providers to be able to reach their patients in familiar and effective ways and by doing this, patients are encouraged to take an active role in their treatment which will in turn lead to better healthcare outcomes.

This is where I think text messaging could be the answer.

It’s a cost effective way of providing a more personalised experience with a greater reach than just smartphone users. Last year over 145 billion* text messages were sent and despite the rise of instant messaging platforms among younger users, text messages remain device agnostic and one of the easiest ways reach anyone with a mobile phone.

The Personal Touch

Your health is a private matter and the more personalised the experience, the more likely patients are to respond and take an active role in managing their own treatment. Medication reminders, exercise reminders, appointment booking, pre-op instructions, post op advise can all be communicated ‘one-on-one’ and doing this on a personal level, knowing that a real person is supporting them, can be a real motivator to empowering them to make the necessary changes.

A GSMA study in 2012 showed that 54% of consumers wanted to improve their healthcare using their mobiles in more personalised ways, taking more control in their treatment.

Patient Preferences

Reach

In order for any patient engagement programme to be successful the number of patients you are able to reach is very important. Patients comes from a variety of backgrounds and demographics with a range of communication preferences. Combined with the fact that it’s not always possible to be connected to the internet, text messaging offers the lowest common denominator and most reliable way of contacting patients. Text messaging also is the quickest way to reach the most people. The average text message is read within the first 90 seconds, whereas the average email is opened within the first 90 minutes*.

Security

Clearly security and compliance are also considerations for any healthcare system that communicates patient information. The text messages can be stored securely inline with HIPAA compliance but because security depends on the cooperation of all parties involved in the transmission process there are bound to be challenges. However if the tool is used correctly, with guidelines in place to support patients with their treatment plans and not for discussing medical issues, many of these security concerns are negated.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that apps and smartphones will make communication easier, reduce costs and improve efficiencies throughout the NHS. But let’s not just assume that apps are the answer before considering all the technologies available to us and the way in which patients use them. Familiarity, reach and simplicity can play a big role in the success of an initiative like this and, used in the correct way, could see tangible benefits in terms of outcomes and cost savings.

*http://europe.newsweek.com/health-apps-created-surgeons-put-patients-control-313531
*http://www.hsj.co.uk/resource-centre/best-practice/qipp-resources/how-improved-medication-adherence-can-prevent-costly-medicine-waste/5041067.article#.VVXLXJNVhBc
*http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jan/13/number-text-messages-sent-britain-falls-first-time
*http://www.pewinternet.org/2012/11/30/the-best-and-worst-of-mobile-connectivity/
Image credit: Amancay Maahs (https://www.flickr.com/photos/amanky/3211478871/)

Connecting your medical app or website to the NHS : The N3 Network

Many ideas for apps and websites we deal with are based around some interaction with the NHS but integrating with NHS services and facilities isn’t always straight forward. One of the barriers to entry is the NHS N3 network. N3 is the broadband network for the NHS which connects all NHS locations and over a million employees. It connects hospitals, GP surgeries, pharmacies and many other service providers to securely facilitate sharing of healthcare data including sensitive patient records.

If your app, website or service needs to interact with NHS data then you may well need to be connected to the N3 network. As specialist providers of health related apps and websites, Genetic Digital’s customers often fall in to this category with web services we develop (which are often the backend of an app) requiring access. However, just to muddy the waters somewhat, N3 connectivity isn’t always mandatory (which can be true for non Patient Identifiable Data only); some NHS trusts have a more relaxed approach than others depending on their internal IT policies and configuration.

So who needs an N3 connection? There are no hard and fast rules but, broadly speaking, if you want to exchange data with an NHS trust (or trusts), especially sensitive data such as patient records, then you’ll need to be on N3. Even if it’s not a requirement if you are offering an on-premise solution, it’s often a commercial advantage if you can offer it. Given two competing services, an NHS trust could well choose one that offers services via N3 over one that doesn’t.

One point worth noting is only traffic from England can flow over the N3 connection so you can’t manage the service from an Indian call centre for example or push or pull patient data from Scotland, Wales or any other country. Knowing where your data resides is vital in applying for your accreditation to connect to N3.

How do you go about connecting to the N3 network? It’s a multi-step process with the first being deciding who you will contact to request access. For this, there are two options, one is to deal with the HSCIC direct (the N3 service provider) and the other is to deal with an N3 commercial aggregator. Dealing direct the process tends to take longer and commercial aggregators are organisations who have been granted power by the HSCIC to vet, assess and grant end user access requests to N3. This latter route is often much quicker and enables you to work with experienced staff who can offer direct support to help complete the required documentation.

Once a request is made there are then two parts of a pre-assessment questionnaire that need completing:

  • The HIGCAP – an eight question form asking about the nature of the connection, name of the company making the request, contact details, ISO certification status etc.
  • You then need to get a sponsor to complete their portion of the form – a sponsor is a responsible individual within an NHS organisation who will vouch for your connection application, for example, a senior manager with knowledge of your project.

After the above two are completed they are assessed for pre-approval. Once pre-approved you move on to:

  • The LCA – Local Connection Architecture questionnaire – this is a comprehensive break down of why the N3 is required – what the connection is for, the type of data etc.

If using a commercial aggregator, a meeting or conference call is usually had to discuss the LCA and help complete it. Once completed to the satisfaction of the provider, N3 approval is granted and a connection is setup.

Once an N3 connection is setup, the end user (our client for example) is obliged to complete the IG Toolkit. This is a process similar to ISO27001 certification which ensures procedures and policies are in place to prevent misuse or negligence of the N3 connection and associated service. They have until the end of March to complete it, so, if access is granted on the 30th March they have 1 day to complete it, if access is granted on 1st April they have a full year. Yes, this is odd. Because of this, completion is not strictly enforced and can (and does) take longer to complete. However, ultimately it needs to be done annually.

What type of connection would I need? For our customers, the need is most often for hosting a server which can connect to N3. Commercial aggregators such as Redcentric own their own data centres with a direct connection to the N3 backbone.  Once approved, our clients can host their servers, either physical or virtual cloud based, in the data centre and their app or web visitor traffic flows in over the public internet and out over the N3. To ensure integrity of the N3 service, you are obliged to utilise a managed firewall that monitors and filters all traffic that crosses over the N3 boundary.

If your service is connected outside of a data centre, in a pharmacy for example, then, in addition to the N3 connection and firewall, you would need to purchase a broadband connection from the commercial aggregator at rates comparable to standard DSL providers.

What about the costs? There are no direct costs associated with obtaining an N3 connection but, like all network connections, there are ongoing costs for using it. There is a minimum 3 year contract and costs increase depending on the speed required. Connections are sold in increments of 1Mb/s which, despite sounding slow (a domestic high speed broadband connection is upwards of 50Mb/s), when dealing with low traffic levels and small packets of text data often used in apps, the basic 1Mb/s can sometimes suffice. Additionally, there are costs for the firewall, hosting in the data centre if necessary and costs for an external DSL connection if required. In all likelihood there would also be consultancy costs associated with completing the IG Toolkit.

In summary, there are commercial benefits to having an N3 connection available to your service and in many instances it will be a necessity. But it comes at a price, both financial and administrative so the decision to apply shouldn’t be taken lightly and should be based on your specific needs, requirements and business opportunities.

Thanks to Redcentric for their expert N3 knowledge that helped shape this article.

To find out more about how Genetic Digital’s expertise in building and marketing healthcare and pharmaceutical websites and apps could benefit your project contact us now.

Wearable technology

What will mHealth look like in 2024?

Imagine a shirt that detects variations in blood sugar levels, contact lenses that can monitor changes in the retina or a toilet that can record hydration levels or vitamin intakes in the user. As Sci-Fi as this sounds, all these could be part of every day life in 10 years time.

It is predicted that by 2024, mobile technology will have transformed medical provision, all over the globe, beyond recognition. Medical care provider Bupa have said that all kinds of apps from those in household appliances to ones in furniture will all be supporting our daily health in ten years time. The mHealth app of tomorrow will monitor health and alert the user to any danger and may also incentivise healthy life style choices by offering rewards through ‘gamification.’ It is thought this would be done in much the same way as games like Foursquare, or Angry Birds unlock badges as rewards. Such an approach and the use of mHealth apps in this way is predicted to have a major role to play in preventing disease and dramatically reducing the onset of ever increasing complaints like diabetes.

Dr Paul Zollinger-Read, Chief Medical Officer at Bupa was reported as saying that mobile technology and advancements in the connected home “gave us a glimpse into the future and allows us to imagine a time where people can become guardians of their own health,” he said, adding that “being aware of their likelihood of disease and possible risk factors, coupled with constant monitoring through intelligent technology means that they will be able to spot the symptoms of illness from a very early stage, or simply prevent them altogether.”

Some of the innovations that Bupa have suggested that might become part of our everyday life include ‘smart nappies’ that allow parents to monitor a range of things from hydration to kidney infection in babies. Moving away from the device accessed mHealth app, the fabric of clothes may become a monitor of pulse and heart rate while sensors in shoes will monitor periods of inactivity and prompt the wearer to exercise. One of the first forays into the world of tomorrow is perhaps the recently developed smart contact lens that can detect glucose levels in patients with diabetes through monitoring their tears. And in 2016 human trials of a miniature artificial pancreas will begin.

There is no doubt that the advent of the mHealth app is the spring board to a future where we will be able to monitor our health on a minute to minute basis and only visit the doctor when the apps monitoring our health tell us that we need to.

10 things you need to know about mHealth

10 Things your boss should know about mHealth

mHealth is the step forward that gives the patient a better opportunity to access healthcare at their fingertips. It gives the ability to monitor, educate and facilitate management of medical conditions from home and through devices that we are all familiar with using. Going to see an actual doctor is often inconvenient and is something that an employee might not want to have to explain or to ask for time off for. Far better that patients take responsibility for some of the management of a medical condition themselves with a back-up of medical care.

So here are ten things that your boss needs to know about mHealth and why it is unquestionably the way ahead.

  1. mHealth, while commonly used as an interactive app, in its broadest application, can attach to a pocket, to a wrist, to clothing, to underwear or directly onto the skin to monitor health.
  2. mHealth can offer a future where there is individual self-determination providing a positive impact on the user’s individual health and the health of the public at large.
  3. mHealth can offer a future that will motivate employers, policymakers, and other professionals to create guidelines and situations that both support and promote healthy behaviour.
  4. mHealth will allow for a freer flow of information, within and outside any health care system.
  5. mHealth will contribute to a future that encourages health care providers to put real value on patients and on their data.
  6. mHealth will create a future that builds respect and trust between patients and their health care providers as well as competence in technology-supported self-and shared management of all aspects of health care.
  7. mHealth will make use of social media for greater and more effective communication.
  8. mHealth will allow for the combination of supporting health and delivering health care information for individuals and for the wider community. That information will be accessed from diverse sources, and can also include non-clinical information.
  9. mHealth will promote technology that can map and show trends in health status, and will highlight any deviations from the norm for any given person in any given scenario.
  10. mHealth will promote user friendly technologies that assimilate health activities and treatment into the rest of a patient’s life.

Finally in February 10, 2014, the Apple iStore contained almost 30,000 health & fitness apps, and over 23,000 medical apps. Many are free, some cost a few pence and others cost a substantial amount. They perform many different functions, but there is one thing all mHealth apps have in common: they all collect information about us and impart vital information to us as users and to medical professionals as they assess health and monitor treatment.

There is no doubt that mHealth solutions are already part of the future for our health and well-being but there are still many organisations involved int he healthcare sector that have yet to develop an effective mHealth strategy to help them capitalise on the opportunities that this exciting area of digital can offer .

What is mHealth?

What is mHealth?

What do we mean when we use the term mHealth?

Many of you will have started to hear the term mHealth being used more frequently, the EU even recently published a Green Paper on mHealth, but as with most jargon unless you are directly involved in the sector responsible for dreaming up these new buzzwords, chances are could find yourself sat in a meeting thinking what on earth is that person talking about when you hear the phrase:

“You need to develop an integrated mHealth strategy and build a suite of native mHealth apps for both iOS and Android platforms”

Here is the Wikipedia definition:

mHealth (also written as m-health) is an abbreviation for mobile health, a term used for the practice of medicine and public health supported by mobile devices. The term is most commonly used in reference to using mobile communication devices, such as mobile phones, tablet computers and PDAs, for health services and information, but also to affect emotional states. The mHealth field has emerged as a sub-segment of eHealth, the use of information and communication technology (ICT), such as computers, mobile phones, communications satellite, patient monitors, etc., for health services and information. mHealth applications include the use of mobile devices in collecting community and clinical health data, delivery of healthcare information to practitioners, researchers, and patients, real-time monitoring of patient vital signs, and direct provision of care (via mobile telemedicine).

In the EU Green Paper they define mHealth as:

Mobile health (mHealth) covers “medical and public health practice supported by mobile devices, such as mobile phones, patient monitoring devices, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and other devise. It also includes applications (apps) such as lifestyle and wellbeing apps that may connect to medical devices or sensors (e.g. bracelets or watches) as well as personal guidance systems, health information and medication reminders provided by SMS and telemedicine provided wirelessly.

Useful mHealth/health app resources

Apart from our own site of course there are some great blogs and websites that cover the topics of mHealth.

Here are our top five:

  1. iMedical apps – http://www.imedicalapps.com/
  2. mHealth professional – http://paper.li/mhealthpro
  3. Mobile Health News – http://mobihealthnews.com/
  4. mHealth Alliance – http://mhealthalliance.org/media-a-resources
  5. mHealth News – http://www.mhealthnews.com/

You can also search for and read tweets that have been posted to the following hashtags: #mHealth; #healthcareapps; #HCApps

 Additional mHealth and healthcare/medical app related content on our site:

Rosemont Pharmaceuticals dosage calculator app

What we learnt from taking an app through compliance & CE Marking

We launched an app that carries the CE Mark and conforms to the EU Medical Device Directive 2007/47 EC for Rosemont Pharmaceuticals who are now registered as a Class 1 device manufacturer. The MHRA have recently released guidance on what constitutes a medical device for apps but this guidance was unavailable when we took this client through the process and this is what we learned.

Understanding the directive

I can’t remember the number of times I read this document picking out key details that were relevant to the development of standalone software. Although there was nothing directly relating to apps there are clear references to how software combined with, or independent of a device should be classified and therefore the level of compliance that needs to be achieved.

Understanding if your app would fall into the category of a medical device

The MHRA recently released their guidance on medical device stand-alone software (including apps)7  and it helps to clarify which types of apps should be classified as medical devices. It still requires developers to understand the implications of the EU Medical Device Directive but helps to identify through the use of words and phrases which apps could be classed as medical devices.

“Decision support or decision making software that applies some form of automated reasoning, such as a simple calculation, a decision support algorithm or a more complex series of calculations, eg dose calculations, symptom tracking, clinicians guides. These are the types of software most likely to fall within the scope of the medical devices directives.”

Testing and risk assessment

Registering your app as a medical device

A rule of thumb for understanding if your app needs to be compliant is if the results produced by using the app could potentially harm a patient e.g. a dosage calculator then it should undergo the necessary compliance procedures to ensure it complies with the EU Medical Device Directive. Part of this process is to thoroughly test the app across different devices, platforms,  audiences and specific functionality built in to it to demonstrate that it works as it should, producing expected results. This will form part of the risk analysis necessary for completing the document of conformity.

The registration

Once this process has been completed the application can be made to the MHRA which requires an accompanying payment of £70.00 (as of the date of writing this 15/04/2014). The application should take between 14 and 21 day to process at which point the company will receive their registration number and only after that point can the app carry the ‘CE’ mark to prove that it has full regulatory backing and will demonstrate that the app reaches all the necessary standards laid out by the EU.

App store submissions

To ensure you get submissions approved quickly, it’s really important to submit the app to iTunes Connect under the correct developer account ensuring all your meta data is completed as fully as possible and providing any references that you feel reviewers will benefit from seeing. Tripping the ‘reject’ status can lead to weeks of delays and once that’s happened it appears that Apple will scrutinise each further submission with a fine tooth comb. Google Play is far simpler by comparison and will take far less time to submit and approve before publishing.

Supporting Documents

Healthcare Apps Europe 2014

Genetic Digital chairing a roundtable session at Healthcare Apps 2014

Russell Hughes, Operations Director at Genetic Digital will be chairing a roundtable discussion about how to develop and successfully launch a health and medical app at Healthcare Apps Europe 2014.

Some of the key areas that he will be getting the audience to consider when developing an app will include:

  • Mobile Website vs Appdo you really need an app or could a responsive website that works across multiple devices be a more suitable digital solution? Getting the right mHealth strategy in place is a crucial first step.
  • Platform & Device  – which platforms such as iOS, Android, Microsoft and Blackberry do you build for and what devices such as smartphones and tablets do you design for?
  • Solution Designwhat type of app do you need? Do you build a hybrid, web or native app?
  • Integration – will the app need to integrate with any internal or external software systems or databases such as a patients information system or web API?
  • Compliance – will the app need to comply with the latest MHRA guidelines on compliance and be registered as a medical device?
  • Testing – how will you test the app and what steps will you need to put in place to ensure that testing is carried out in a comprehensive manner by the right people?
  • Marketing – how will you make your target audience aware of your app, will the app need to be supported by a marketing campaign and specific app promotion tactics like app store optimisation (ASO)?
  • Tracking – how will you track usage and downloads of your app and measure what impact it has had in helping you to achieve your business and marketing objectives?

The rountable session will give you the chance to discuss key topics and challenges in smaller, interactive groups. You will be able to share your own experiences and hear from others; benchmark; exchange ideas and get clear answers to specific questions. So, in order to make the most of these interactive sessions, you should come armed to share experiences and have questions at the ready!

 Visit Healthcare Apps Europe 2014 for more details about the conference and roundtable discussions.

Medical apps on a tablet

EU to adopt a Green Paper on mobile health

Today, a Green Paper on mobile health (mHealth) will be published by the European Commission. mHealth covers all medical and public health practice that is supported by mobile devices. This document will launch a community discussion process that will continue until 2 July 2014.

Covering all practice supported by mobile devices – including tablets, smartphones, and other wireless devices mHealth also includes wellbeing and lifestyle apps that connect to sensors and other medical devices. This is an important and emergent part of eHealth where Information as well as Communication Technology is used to improve services, processes and health products.

The Commission will be looking at several issues surrounding mHealth:

  • Data protection
  • Patient safety
  • Users trust
  • Input to the delivery of healthcare of the highest quality
  • The level at which this should be applied e.g. – national, regional, or EU wide.

As well as the Green Paper, European Commission direction will also be given through a Staff Working Document, to those involved in app development. This will analyse existing EU legal frameworks currently applicable that are applicable to wellbeing and to lifestyle apps.

There is no doubt that mHealth can help to tackle some of the challenges that our healthcare structure faces. And according to a report by PWC mHealth could potentially deliver €99 billion in care costs by 2017. It is a fast evolving field with the potential to improve healthcare quality and improve efficiency by offering support to professionals in healthcare and in the area of patient treatment. It will also facilitate continuity of care. Some estimates show that as much as 30% of time spent accessing or analysing information could be saved if medical professionals used mHelath-based technology. Remote monitoring facilities could help many more patients live independently supported by technological monitoring systems. Despite this potential, the uptake of mHealth, at present, remains restricted in EU countries and healthcare authorities may look for more confirming evidence before they are prepared to adopt mHealth more comprehensively.

Some criticisms have been:

  • Lack of observance and transparency might make users wary of placing their trust in these apps, which may impact on market development.
  • Insufficient knowledge among developers with regard to the legalities applicable to lifestyle and well-being apps.

It is hoped that the Staff Working Document being issued with the Green Paper, will raise awareness amongst app developers of the rules being imposed by the EU surrounding issues of data protection, and will assist them in determining whether the legislation is applicable to their app, or not. It will also issue consumer directives.
At Genetic Digital we have been in the vanguard of this new technology and we were asked, as trail blazers in this field to take part in an interview on the subject being covered by BBC News.

Some of the areas of concern have been:

  1. How mHealth can be aligned with national health care strategies
  2. Technology/Interoperability standards
  3. Data protection and security
  4. Regulation and compliance keeping pace with development
  5. Getting patients and HCP involved earlier during solutions
  6. Lack of evidence of economic or clinical benefit – (it is worth noting that before email became widespread Intel surveys showed that most people claimed not to want it.)

The era of mHealth has arrived.

Stage 1
At this first stage consumer friendly products link fitness to general wellbeing as seen with Jawbone/Fitbit.

Stage 2
Apps and mobile connected devices permeate the medical field (we have entered this stage)

Stage 3
Mobile, wearables & data-collection devices mesh together to provide the backbone for optimisation & customisation of preventative health, medical treatment & hospital processes.

This is new and exciting technology and the release of the Green Paper is a step to its validation. In years to come will we wonder, as we do now with email technology, how we ever managed without it?

View the Green Paper

If you’d like to respond to the paper visit the EU website where the paper is published

Russell - BBC interview

Genetic Digital interviewed by BBC

Russell Hughes interviewed by BBC News about the EU Green Paper on mobile health (mHealth)

On the 8th April Jeremy Howell from BBC News visited the Genetic Digital office to interview Operations Director – Russell Hughes about the EU Green Paper on mobile health (mHealth) that was being published on Thursday, 10th April. In the interview Jeremy asked for Russell’s views on healthcare and medical app compliance and how mHealth is reshaping the way healthcare is being delivered.

Click on the video below to view the interview