HealthTap to provide doctor recommendations on health apps

Palo Alto, Calif.-based digital platform provider HealthTap has unveiled a new service to help consumers more easily navigate the plethora of health apps that are currently available, according to a company announcement. Called AppRx, the offering is designed to leverage the company's network of more than 40,000 physicians who will review and recommend the best health apps on the market.

"Each month, millions turn to HealthTap to get the best answers to their health questions and valuable tips from top doctors," states Ron Gutman, HealthTap Founder and CEO, in a written statement. "Now everyone can also learn from our doctors which apps can help them stay healthy, or improve their health and well being."

The aim of HealthTap's AppRx is to alleviate the "pain of health app discovery" by enabling consumers to select from doctor-recommended apps in 30 different health and wellness categories, according to the company's announcement. Effectively, AppRx would serve as a seal of approval, providing consumers with added confidence that these apps can live up to marketing claims from their developers. 

"With only user reviews in app stores, it's very difficult and time consuming to assess the quality and personal fit, let alone discern which apps are best suited for specific health issues," states Dr. David Wyatt, a family practitioner from Atlanta, in a written statement. "Together with tens of thousands of my colleagues, we've taken it upon ourselves to objectively and professionally rate the quality, reliability and helpfulness of the best apps on all platforms."

Currently, more than 40,000 health apps are available across multiple mobile platforms. However, a recent probe by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting found that consumers are being "bamboozled by hucksters" selling mHealth apps that purport to cure everything from acne to alcoholism. In its survey of 1,500 apps, the center found that more than 20 percent claim to treat or cure medical problems, many of which do not follow established medical guidelines and have not been clinically tested and in "some cases could even endanger people."

In May, HealthTap announced that it raised $24 million in Series B financing, one of the most substantial Series B investments to date in the digital health industry. Over the past year, the company has grown rapidly, nearly quadrupling the number of doctors in its network and serving tens of millions of people worldwide via its web and mobile apps.

To learn more:
- read the announcement