A recent study in Nature provided a new scorecard approach for evaluating which digital health applications actually produce meaningful clinical results, using a sample of oncology apps to demonstrate the need for standardized evaluation criteria.
The Problem – Low entry barriers have created a confusing digital health landscape, with the growth of apps outpacing digital health stakeholders’ ability to validate their quality.
The Solution – The study evaluated 22 popular oncology mobile apps using a digital health scorecard with 5 evaluation criteria (technical, clinical, usability, end user requirements, cost).
The Results – Although usability was adequate, the oncology apps carried significant technical limitations, were of limited clinical value, and “generally did not do what end users wanted.”
Across all 22 apps, the average score (100% max) for each criteria was:
- Cost – 100% (all apps were free)
- Usability – 56.7%
- Technical – 37.3%
- End-User Requirements – 37.2%
- Clinical – 15.9%
Healthcare apps are here to stay, but the shortcomings of highly downloaded oncology apps highlights the need for standardized frameworks like this scorecard to evaluate their clinical appropriateness. We’ll also need far more healthcare apps that satisfy these criteria.