14 Sep 2017
BACKGROUND: Mobile-health offers many opportunities, however the ‘side-effects’ of health-apps are often unclear. With no guarantee health-apps first do no harm, their role as a viable, safe, and effective therapeutic option is limited.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the quality of apps for chronic insomnia disorder, available on the Android Google Play Store, and determine whether a novel approach to app-assessment could identify high quality and low risk health-apps in the absence of indicators such as NHS-approval.
METHODS: The ORCHA-24, 24 app-assessment criteria concerning data privacy, clinical efficacy, and user experience, answered on a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, evidence-driven basis; was applied to assess 18 insomnia apps identified via the Android Google Play Store, in addition to the NHS-approved iOS app Sleepio™.
CONCLUSION: Apps for chronic insomnia disorder exhibit substantial variation in adherence to published data privacy, user experience, and clinical efficacy standards; which are not clearly correlated with app downloads or user-review scores.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: In absence of formal app accreditation, the ORCHA-24 could feasibly be used to highlight the risk-benefit profiles of health-apps prior to downloading.