mHealth Assessment: Conceptualization of a Global Framework

Bradway, Meghan
Vallespin, Bárbara
Saadatfard, Omid
Puigdomènech, Elisa
Espallargues, Mireia
Kotzeva, Anna
The mass availability and use of mobile health (mHealth) technologies offers the potential for these technologies to support or substitute medical advice. However, it is worrisome that most assessment initiatives are still not able to successfully evaluate all aspects of mHealth solutions. As a result, multiple strategies to assess mHealth solutions are being proposed by medical regulatory bodies and similar organizations. Objective: We aim to offer a collective description of a universally applicable description of mHealth assessment initiatives, given their current and, as we see it, potential impact. In doing so, we recommend a common foundation for the development or update of assessment initiatives by addressing the multistakeholder issues that mHealth technology adds to the traditional medical environment. Methods: Organized by the Mobile World Capital Barcelona Foundation, we represent a workgroup consisting of patient associations, developers, and health authority representatives, including medical practitioners, within Europe. Contributions from each group’s diverse competencies has allowed us to create an overview of the complex yet similar approaches to mHealth evaluation that are being developed today, including common gaps in concepts and perspectives. In response, we summarize commonalities of existing initiatives and exemplify additional characteristics that we believe will strengthen and unify these efforts. Results: As opposed to a universal standard or protocol in evaluating mHealth solutions, assessment frameworks should respect the needs and capacity of each medical system or country. Therefore, we expect that the medical system will specify the content, resources, and workflow of assessment protocols in order to ensure a sustainable plan for mHealth solutions within their respective countries. Conclusions: A common framework for all mHealth initiatives around the world will be useful in order to assess whatever mHealth solution is desirable in different areas, adapting it to the specifics of each context, to bridge the gap between health authorities, patients, and mHealth developers. We aim to foster a more trusting and collaborative environment to safeguard the well-being of patients and citizens while encouraging innovation of technology and policy ​
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