Evaluating Mobile Apps



iOS phone with app

As health apps are used more often to support education and diagnosis and management of diseases, facilitating proper use of this form of technology is essential. Indeed, Visser and Bouman (2012) amongst others have suggested that the DoH, the NHS, and individual hospitals and doctors needed to ensure that they clearly designated and peer reviewed apps which were evidence based; confirmed they were reliable and up-to-date for use in daily clinical care; decided when such use was appropriate; and also provided sufficient training to support this. These areas have important ramifications for the potential curricular use of mobile devices and apps as their usage is continuously expanding (Payne et al 2012), although currently their integration into medical curriculums and usage in medical education varies greatly (Ellaway 2014).

Workstream 1.2 of the National Information Board (NIB) published in March 2015 (NIB 2015a) has the aim of citizens having access to a set of health and care digital apps that will have been endorsed by the NHS in order to help people to manage their health better and deal more effectively with illness and disability. An updated version of the NIB roadmap was issued in October 2015 (NIB 2015b), with the aims and activities contingent on the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) due to conclude in November 2015. The CSR will establish whether this work stream of the NIB will be funded by the health and care system. The availability and level of funding will impact on how the work progresses beyond 2015. Assuming that funding is approved and resources applied to the current programme can be maintained, NIB expect that a 'beta' version of the Stage 1 digital service can be launched and Stage 2 be piloted by April 2016.