What do you know about mobile health apps?

July 9, 2018

What do you know about mobile health apps?

There are now over 300 million cell phones in the United States, about 200 million computers and about 50 million e-readers. This is the information and internet age, and medicine has moved into it.

The American Medical Association (AMA) estimates there are over 250,000 mobile health apps available and about 40,000 of these can impact patient care and safety. We want to know:

  • Do they work?
  • Are they safe?
  • Are they secure?

Mobile apps have the potential to revolutionize health care. They can give us greater access to health information and can improve our health care outcomes.

It is important to incorporate the voices of doctors, insurers and mobile health innovators to develop the guidelines and practices necessary to promote effective and safe mobile health apps.

In 2016 the AMA, together with the American Heart Association, the Digital Healthcare Group and the Healthcare Information and Management System Society formed a company called Xcertia to do just that. Xcertia board members include executives and venture capitalists in health care management, insurance and information technology, from WebMD, Blue Cross, CMS, the American Heart Association, Mayo Clinic, Partners Healthcare – a Harvard medical group and the AMA.

Xcertia responds to the critical need for a framework of principles to promote safe and effective mobile health apps and positively affects the trajectory of the mobile health app market. Xcertia has started the guideline development process and is focused on topics such as privacy, security, usability, content and adaptability to clinical practice with the goal of being a trustworthy resource to support consumer and clinicians’ choices of mobile health apps.

Xcertia’s governing board is committed to broad representation from consumers, developers, payers, clinicians, academia and others with an interest in the development of guidelines for mobile health apps.

The number of apps is increasing and shifting toward health condition management

Growth of health apps in 2013, 2015 and 2017 – bars with no years are estimated change.


Use of health apps in five therapy areas could produce $7 billion in annual savings

How health care apps can save more than $7 billion in five therapy areas – bars show % of savings they result in.


If you are interested in this AMA project, or want to move closer to the development or evaluation of telemedical computer applications, please contact Xcertia and sign up through the Physicians Innovation Network. The AMA is hard at work in advancing and monitoring health care innovation, health care IT and telemedicine.

This is just one of the many ways the AMA is working for you. The Advocacy Council and the College want YOU to belong to the AMA.

Stephen A. Imbeau, MD, FACAAI
Chair, Advocacy Council