Evaluating mHealth Apps

BOSTON– February 10, 2016: Are mHealth app ratings actually useful? A study authored by Adam C. Powell, Ph.D., John B. Torous, MD, and colleagues examined the interrater reliability of 22 measures commonly used to evaluate the quality of mobile health apps for depression and smoking cessation. Six raters assigned ratings to a pool of 20 apps, and then the level of agreement between the ratings was calculated using Krippendorff’s alpha. Surprisingly, the six raters had rather poor agreement on 21 of the 22 measures which were examined. There was rather high disagreement over basic issues, like whether the apps were easy to use, stated their advertising policies, and had performance issues. However, the raters had strong agreement about the level of interactiveness and feedback within the apps. These findings suggest that mHealth app reviews should be used cautiously, especially if they rely upon measures which have not been validated.

To learn more about which measures of mHealth app quality have high interrater reliability, download the full text of the study at http://mhealth.jmir.org/2016/1/e15/

Automating Medicine

CHICAGO– January 25, 2016: After the develop of artificial intelligence systems such as Watson, the future of radiology and other data-driven fields of medicine have been drawn into question. In a discussion held by the American College of Radiology, Adam C. Powell, Ph.D., explored whether or not radiology and other fields of medicine are likely to be automated. The discussion was hosted by Saurabh “Harry” Jha, MBBS, and also featured Matthew Hawkins, MD and patient advocate Andrew DeLaO. A recording of the discussion is available on the official blog of the Journal of the American College of Radiology. See: http://jacrblog.org/radiologists-pick-your-replacement-watson-or-pigeons

Establishing the Evidence

BOSTON– April 2, 2015: Payer+Provider helps organizations assess the value that healthcare innovations deliver by relying upon published researched findings. While assisting clients in evaluating the value delivered by wellness applications, it was noticed that there was often little evidence to support value. To explore the strength of evidence behind mHealth apps with more rigor, John B. Torous, MD, and Adam C. Powell, Ph.D., performed a comprehensive review of the evidence base on apps for managing depression and bipolar disorder. They found that there was a paucity of papers examining either type of intervention. To read their findings, see http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214782915000135

Lecture on Valuing Information

BOSTON– March 3, 2015: Adam C. Powell, Ph.D., President of Payer+Provider Syndicate and Adjunct of Health Informatics at Northeastern University, will speak at the annual meeting of the American College of Radiology on May 20th in order to discuss the value of information. Building upon a recent talk at the Radiological Society of North America conference, Dr. Powell’s speech, Valuing Information: A Perspective from Behavioral Economics, will demonstrate how organizations  can assess the financial value of the information that diagnostics produce. He will be presenting alongside Drs. Saurabh Jha and Richard Abramson. In 2014, Drs. Jha and Powell co-authored, A (Gentle) Introduction to Behavioral Economics, an article introducing the subject to radiologists.

Powell to Discuss mHealth Quality & Security

BOSTON– July 17, 2014: Adam C. Powell, Ph.D., President of Payer+Provider Syndicate, has been invited to speak at mHealth + Telehealth World 2014. He will participate on a panel titled Overcome Security and Privacy Issues and Understand Mobile Device and Mobile Application Regulations, which will be led by Adam Landman, MD, Chief Medical Innovation Officer of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He will speak alongside Kevin Littlefield, CISSP, Information Security Officer for Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Physician Organization. During the panel, the discussants will discuss how the government is currently regulating the quality, security, and privacy of mHealth apps, in addition to steps that can be taken to improve the quality of apps.

Organized by World Congress, mHealth+Telehealth World is being held in Boston from July 22nd through 24th. The mission of the conference is to increase efficiency, encourage engagement, and ensure the sustainability of connected health programs. Keynote speakers at the conference include Wen Dombrowski, Srinivas Merugu, John Mattison, Sarah Sossong, David Balch, and Joseph Kvedar.

Dr. Powell’s participation in mHealth + Telehealth World follows two recent, related events. In May 2014, Dr. Powell spoke at the 16th Shanghai International Forum on Biotechnology and the Pharmaceutical Industry (Shanghai BIO-FORUM). His lecture, Are most mHealth apps useless?: A discussion of potential solutions to common problems, outlined critical factors in the success and failure of mHealth apps. Earlier that month, JAMA printed a Viewpoint article on the review and certification of mHealth apps which Dr. Powell had coauthored with Dr. Landman and David Bates.