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Little Evidence Health Apps Work, Study Finds

MobiHealthNews writes: A new overview of systematic reviews of published randomized control trials of mobile health apps found just 23 RCTs of currently-available apps have been conducted, and less than half of those showed a positive health effect from the app in question. A group of researchers from the Centre for Research in Evidence-Based Practice at Bond University in Queensland, Australia conducted the review, which was published in Nature’s new Digital Medicine journal. The researchers found only a small fraction of the available mHealth apps had been tested and the body of evidence was of very low quality. They recommended improving the quality of evidence and reducing research waste and potential harm in this nascent field include encouraging app effectiveness testing prior to release, designing less biased trials, and conducting better reviews with robust risk of bias assessments. Without adequate evidence to back it up, digital medicine and app ‘prescribability’ might stall in its infancy for some time to come.

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