Table 3

Health information best-practice principles adapted for smartphone apps

1

Information must be authoritative: all medical information presented by [and/or calculations performed by an app] must be attributed to an author and his/her training in the field must be mentioned.


2

Purpose [of the app]: A statement clearly declaring that the [app] is not meant to replace the advice of a health professional has to be provided. A brief description of the [app]'s mission, purpose and intended audience is necessary. Another brief description of the organisation behind the [app], its mission and its purpose is also necessary.


3

Confidentiality: The [app publisher] must describe its privacy policy regarding how you treat confidential, private or semi-private information such as email addresses and the content of emails received from or sent to [its users]


4

Information must be documented, referenced and dated: All medical content [including calculations and formulae] has to have a specific date of creation and a last modification date.


5

Justification of claims: All information about the benefits or performance of any treatment (medical and/or surgical), commercial product or service are considered as claims. All claims have to be backed up with scientific evidence (medical journals, reports or others).


6

[App] contact details: The [app] must be operational and the information must be accessible and clearly presented. There must be a way to contact the [app publisher], such as a working email address or contact form, for visitors who would like to have more details or support.


7

Funding: [The app publisher] must include a statement declaring its sources of funding.


8

Editorial and advertising policy: Conflicts of interest and external influences which could affect the objectivity of the editorial content must be clearly stated in the disclaimer. All [apps] displaying paying banners have to have an advertising policy. This policy must explain how the [publisher] distinguishes between editorial and advertising content and which advertisements are accepted. Any conflict of interest has to be explained.


Adapted from the Health on The Net Foundation principles for health information on the internet.

Huckvale et al. BMC Medicine 2012 10:144   doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-144

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