Health apps available on smart phones should be subject to an authoritative regulatory system that rates them for efficacy, according to an overwhelming majority of respondents to a survey conducted by the Consumers Health Forum through Australia’s Health Panel.
The survey found that almost 90 per cent of respondents said that there is a role for the government in regulating health and wellness apps.
Almost 60 per cent of respondents said that the government should review and rate health apps, while 31 per cent said that the government should fund a separate organisation to perform the role.
The survey is the first to be undertaken through Australia’s Health Panel, established by the Consumers Health Forum to harness community sentiment on contemporary consumer health issues.
The survey also found that consumers were most likely to trust recommendations by general practitioners and pharmacists on health and wellbeing apps.
The CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said the survey results highlighted the growing public demand for credible and effective oversight of health apps, given their accelerating reach into every aspect of healthcare.
“As consumers increasingly turn to health apps to aid and monitor their health and treatment, there’s clearly a need for people to know whether they can trust the apps, and whether they offer the best health option available and are worth the investment in time and money,” Ms Wells said.
“To ensure the health system makes the most of the rapid developments in digital technology now gripping healthcare, the Federal Government should be moving now to assess how best to support and regulate the safety and quality of health apps.
“Given the rapid entry of health and wellbeing apps into healthcare, it is time now for the Government, consumers, health providers and app companies to come together to determine the fundamental principles that should govern this activity.”
Read the full Health Panel report.
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