The World Health Organization has created a checklist to improve the standards that are set for reporting of mHealth efforts, with a goal of raising the quality of evidence from such initiatives.
The WHO mHealth Technical Evidence Review Group created the evidence reporting and assessment (mERA) checklist with the help of university participants, including Johns Hopkins Global mHealth Initiative, according to an article published in March in BMJ.
"The mERA checklist was borne from the recognition of a lack of adequate, systematic and useful reporting of mHealth interventions and associated research studies," WHO experts said. "The tool was developed to promote clarity and completeness in reporting of research involving the use of mobile tools in healthcare, irrespective of the format or channel of such reporting."
Sixteen core items are addressed in the checklist, some of which include:
- Description of the infrastructure needed to support tech operations where the study will be conducted
- An outline of the software and hardware that will be used
- Incorporation of user feedback and/or satisfaction with the project
- Assessment of the costs
- Overview of the security and privacy controls in place
The researchers believe the checklist is likely to become a popular resource given the flood of mHealth initiatives, such as via Apple's ResearchKit platform. The open source framework allows iPhone users to participate in medical trials and studies through health data sharing capabilities, and within just weeks thousands of participants signed up to participate in disease research effort.
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