AMA adopts principles for use of mHealth apps

The American Medical Association has released a new guidance promoting clinical mHealth apps that support patient-centered care delivery, care coordination and team-based communication. The AMA adopted them during its recent interim meeting.

“The new AMA principles aim to foster the integration of digital health innovations into clinical practice by promoting coverage and payment policies that are contingent upon whether mHealth apps and related devices are evidence-based, validated, interoperable and actionable,” said Steven J. Stack, M.D., AMA's immediate past president, in an announcement.

Related: Health issues, not software choices, should be focus when prescribing mHealth apps

In addition to addressing coverage and payment issues, the guidance addressed the need for apps to:

  • Support the patient-physician relationship
  • Have a clinical evidence base validating their safety and effectiveness
  • Follow evidence-based practice guidelines to ensure patient safety, quality of care and positive health outcomes
  • Ensure that the delivery of any services via the app conform to state practice laws

It also encourages physicians and the mobile app industry to help patients understand the varying levels data privacy and security involved with mHealth apps.

Because liability issues are unclear, doctors should seek legal counsel to address their questions about that, it said.

Related: Why doctor-prescribed apps aren't yet showing value

Speaking at the recent American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, Maulik D. Majmudar, M.D., clinical cardiologist and associate director of the Healthcare Transformation Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, lamented the difficulty in culling meaningful apps from the thousands available.

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has addressed that problem with RxUniverse, a platform that provides a white-listed “app store” integrated into its digital prescription delivery system.