European Commission forms group to create guidelines for health app data quality

By Aditi Pai

The European Commission has formed a working group that will create guidelines to evaluate the accuracy and reliability of health app data. The group’s first meeting will be in March.

This initiative, the European Commission explained, is a follow up to a consultation announced in April 2014 that asked digital health companies and others for help in identifying ways to encourage and regulate mobile health. Results from the consultation, published last year, found that two of the barriers to digital health app adoption were the privacy issues and security of health data. The report explained that there is a large number of health and wellness apps, but consumers are having trouble identifying which ones are reliable and produce good quality data.

“In order to fully benefit from the mobile health apps that people increasingly use to monitor their lifestyle and health status or to manage their chronic disease, it should be possible in the future to link data from these apps to the electronic health records,” the European Commission wrote. “This means that patients would be able to give access to their health professionals to consult the data collected by the apps. Also, health professionals need the reassurance about the reliability of the apps, in order to be able to recommend apps to their patients and take apps' data into consideration in a treatment/monitoring process.”

Members of the working group will develop guidelines that help different groups, including consumers, EHR vendors, and developers, assess the quality of health app data.

The European Commission first opened applications for members in early December 2015. Of 75 applications, the European Commission selected 20. Members of this working group include associations, research institutes, NGOs, and corporations. Some of the members include Digital Health & Care Alliance, Eucomed, King’s College London, The European Institute for Health Records (EuroRec), and Medappcare.

The guidelines from this working group will be published at the end of the year.