Certifying apps? Happtique’s big new idea

Happtique has been spending a lot of effort cataloging all the health, clinical and fitness Apps in the Apple App Store, Google Play and more. Their goal is to create prescribable apps, and proprietary app stores for providers. The idea is that a hospital or clinic can help its physicians suggest the right apps to patients by giving them a select group to choose from, and by having them cataloged in a way that is far more detailed than Apple or Android can do.

That in itself is a big advance, but even though they’ve cataloged 15,000 of the approx. 40,000 health apps out there, they don’t think it’s enough. Happtique is introducing a new certification program today. The idea is to have all apps assessed both for technical proficiency and also for content. Happtique will be reviewing the applications for technical, security and privacy–in other words, where any data goes and whether the app does what it says it does. In addition it’ll assess whether the app links properly to a particular devices or a particular EMR–something that presumably is pretty important to users. (I had an Android phone once which a major tracking device could not link to, even though the device had an Android app!). Here’s the release.

Happtique’s partners (academic med center group AAMC, nurse credentialers CGFNS International & testing lab Intertek) will provide clinicians and other experts who will review the apps for content. The idea here is not to rate or review the content but to see whether the content is from a valid source, and is true to what it says it is.

Happtique’s CEO Ben Chodor estimates that they will be able to review apps within 30 days and at a cost of around $3,000. He thinks that several hundred apps will be certified very soon and that the certification program will become a “good housekeeping-like” seal of approval. And obviously Ben hopes to stake the ground first, as ceritifcation central for apps.

Given that there are thousands of apps and that it’s very hard for consumers or health care organizations to sort through the chaff for the wheat, a technical and content certification program like this makes a lot of sense. It’s not the only vector that users will care about, but it should give some level of assurance to users and organizations that the apps are what they say they are. From there you can imagine how other ratings and review  systems, or cataloging could be added to this selection. In addition, other vendors could integrate with selected certified vendors.

While it’s early days, this is an exciting certification program, helping developers and users get to a common terminology and understanding. It should also be a decent revenue flow to Happtique–which is owned by the hospital trade group GNYHA.

I’ll be talking more with Ben Chodor from HIMSS next week on the HIBC network on Weds. Ben of course is also a big time Internet radio star, with his weekly (and wrongly named!) mHealth Zone apparently attracting lots and lots of listeners!

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2 replies »

  1. While that is a great idea, I wonder if that also opens the door to “here, use that app” instead of spending enough time with patients, including explaining how these apps actually work.