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Mobile Medical Apps and mHealth Devices: A Framework to Build Medical Apps and mHealth Devices in an Ethical Manner to Promote Safer Use - A Literature Review.

Mobile Medical Apps and mHealth Devices: A Framework to Build Medical Apps and mHealth Devices in an Ethical Manner to Promote Safer Use - A Literature Review.

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Mobile Medical Apps and mHealth Devices: A Framework to Build Medical Apps and mHealth Devices in an Ethical Manner to Promote Safer Use - A Literature Review.

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2017;235:363-367

Authors: Sharp M, O'Sullivan D

Abstract
This paper presents a preliminary literature review in the area of ethics in the development of Mobile Medical Apps and mHealth. The review included both direct health apps and also apps marketed under the area of well-being in addition to mHealth devices. The following words and combinations of them were used to carry out the search for publications, mHealth, Apps, Ethics. The search engines used were Google Scholar, and PubMed. The paper is restricted to publications since 2012. The total number of papers found was 1,920 of which 84 were reviewed. The reason for so few being reviewed was that the majority only considered security. The search revealed many papers dealing with security for all types of apps and mHealth devices but there are very few papers dealing with the ethical issues related to Apps or mHealth devices in the area. It is noted however that the number of apps is increasing in number exponentially and therefore it is argued that it is necessary to pay attention to the ethical aspects. There are now estimated to be 165,000 apps available in this area. How ethics are addressed in health and well-being apps is important as they can have an effect on the health of the individual using them. In a similar way, the need for addressing ethical issues for development of well-being apps is evident. In a study [1] it was noted that even though Electronic Health Record (EHR) was the highest ranked tablet-related task only one third of clinicians said that EHR was optimized for smartphones. When apps are integrated with the EHR they fully optimize productivity. In the same study the significant challenges identified included the method of evaluation and selection of mobile health solutions in order to ensure that clinical outcomes, care and efficiency are included. Security is mentioned but again wider ethical issues were not a consideration. From the literature review it is clear that there is a need for guidelines for how developers of medical ad well-being apps and mHealth devices should address ethical issues during development, and the generation of these guidelines is the subject of ongoing research by the authors.

PMID: 28423815 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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