Digital Health

Physicians, Telemedicine Groups Collaborate on Digital Health Assessment Framework

The American College of Physicians (ACP), the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) and ORCHA, the Organization for the Review of Care and Health Applications, have collaborated on a framework for assessing digital health technologies, including mobile apps and web-based tools used by healthcare professionals and consumers.

The Digital Health Assessment Framework is intended to be an open framework, accessible for anyone to use, to support the adoption of high-quality digital health technologies and help healthcare professionals and patients make better-informed decisions about which digital health tools best suit their needs. The framework includes components to assess privacy and security, clinical assurance and safety, and usability, and was crafted to support U.S.-specific guidelines, regulations and best practices for digital health technologies.

ACP also announced the launch of a pilot test of a database of digital health tools reviewed against the framework by ORCHA. Feedback from the pilot, as well as input from digital health technology companies, healthcare professionals, consumers, and other stakeholders will continue to help improve the Framework, which will be updated regularly to reflect changes in clinical practice, the latest guidelines and best practices.

“ACP’s collaboration on this project is an important step forward in identifying and creating digital health tools that are valuable and safe for our members and patients,” said Ryan D. Mire, M.D., ACP’s president, in a statement. “Leveraging the clinical expertise of ACP members, the technology expertise of the ATA members, and ORCHA’s experience in assessing apps to create libraries of high-quality apps, this pilot test has the potential to address the needs of many stakeholders. We look forward to achieving our joint goal through the pilot test to determine how the library can be useful to physicians in recommending high-value digital health tools to their patients, and what other barriers to wider adoption of digital health tools may exist.”

“Although it’s designed specifically for the needs and requirements of the U.S. market, the framework doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel,” said Tim Andrews, chief operating officer of U.K.-based ORCHA, in a statement. “It recognizes and points to relevant existing U.S. regulations, and applies several leading international standards and frameworks, ISO 82304-2 in Europe, Digital Technology Assessment Criteria (DTAC) and NICE evidence standards framework in the UK, and DiGA in Germany. We have already assessed a number of products against the framework, and look forward to supporting innovators and health providers to understand where their digital health inventory stands against the benchmark.”

Ann Mond Johnson, CEO of the ATA, added in a statement that “there are literally hundreds of health apps and devices for patients and clinicians to choose from, and our goal is to provide confidence that the health and wellness tools reviewed in this framework meet quality, privacy and clinical assurance criteria in the U.S.”


Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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