Report on International Practice on Digital Apps

Nielsen, Søren Lange and Rimpiläinen, Sanna (2018) Report on International Practice on Digital Apps. [Report] (

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This landscape review provides an overview and examination of current international initiatives and practices to develop, assess and evaluate the use of mobile health and wellbeing apps and services. To accomplish this, seventeen academic, national, regional and international initiatives have been identified, examined and compared, detailing their wide-ranging approaches and scopes. The identified approaches include self-assessments questionnaires, independent accreditations, general guidelines / guiding principles, Codes of Conduct, risk-based assessments and Quality Assurance Frameworks. The examination and comparison of these drew attention to seven cohering quality parameters or criterions, which exist across many of the reviewed initiatives: * ‘Privacy / Data protection’ * ‘Credible sources / Evidence-based information’ * ‘Usability / user experience’ * ‘Functionality’ * ‘Security / authentication’ * ‘Effectiveness / Impact’ * ‘Interoperability’ These cohering parameters were identified in at least nine and up to sixteen instances, amongst the examined initiatives. Out of these ‘Privacy / Data protection’, ‘Credible sources / Evidence-based information’ and ‘Functionality’ were highly represented with sixteen and fifteen instances, while there is variation in their terminology and extent. The variation has been covered more extensively in section 1.1, where all seven indicators have been examined in-depth. Out of the seventeen initiatives examined, only four include all seven cohering parameters. These are the UK based Digital Assessment Questions (DAQs) and Quality Assurance Framework, the Canadian based Guiding Principles and the WHO MAPS toolkit. Yet of these, the DAQs are the only one, which covers all seven parameters comprehensively and in detail, whereas the Canadian Initiative and MAPS toolkit is not as detailed or specific within all of the seven parameters and the Quality Assurance Framework is still being drafted. The DAQs, created by NHS England can therefore be recommended to be used for approaching and assessing the hundred health and wellbeing apps in the clinical/wellbeing areas for the mPower interventions.