New Framework for Evaluating the Privacy, Security, and Safety of Digital Health Technologies

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA), the Organization for the Review of Care and Health Applications (ORCHA), and the American College of Physicians (ACP) have joined up to create a new framework for evaluating digital health technologies utilized by healthcare experts and patients.

Presently, over 86 million Americans make use of a fitness or health app. These digital health technologies including more than 365,000 individual products can gather, keep, process, and transfer personal and health information that would be categorized as protected health information (PHI) under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA); nevertheless, most of these technologies are not covered by HIPAA and aren’t covered by other rules, federal laws, and government instruction. The absence of guidance in this section blocks the usage of electronic health technologies, which have incredible potential for enhancing condition management, clinical risk evaluation, and decision assistance.

The creators of digital health technologies frequently share user information gathered by their products and apps with third parties however do not always disclose their data-sharing practices with consumers, and their privacy policies are often far from transparent. The use of these applications and technologies can place user privacy in danger. The technologies may additionally lack proper security controls and may be susceptible to cyberattacks that can expose sensitive user information.

The Digital Health Assessment Framework is meant to be an open system that anybody may access to use, to help adopt high-quality digital health technologies and guide healthcare specialists and patients in making better choices regarding which digital health solutions best match their needs, as explained by the ATA in a PR release.

The framework consists of elements that healthcare specialists and consumers could utilize to evaluate data and privacy, clinical assurance and safety, usability and accessibility, and technical security and stability, and was created to help U.S. rules, regulations, and protocols for electronic health practices.

Digital health technologies can provide safe, effective, and engaging access to personalized health and support, give more convenient care, increase patient and healthcare provider satisfaction, and accomplish better clinical outcomes. Ann Mond Johnson, the ATA CEO, further mentioned that there are actually hundreds of health apps and devices for patients and physicians to select from, and our objective is to win the confidence that the health and wellness resources examined in this Framework meet quality, privacy and clinical assurance requirements in the U.S.

ACP is performing a pilot study of health applications that will be analyzed against the system to produce an extensive collection of acceptable digital health solutions. The framework will be updated regularly depending on responses from digital health technology firms, healthcare experts, consumers, and other stakeholders to reveal changes in clinical practice, and the most recent guidelines and recommendations, and best practices.