Baylor College of Medicine’s Dr. Stephanie Morain led a study targeting the growing use of health care applications (apps)—namely oncology apps in use to help patients find clinical trials. The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Oncology-based patient recruitment can be time consuming, expensive and difficult. A plethora of digital health ventures have developed mobile apps to support, facilitate and accelerate the process. However, Dr. Morain raises considerable concerns around important topics such as data protection and privacy of personally identifiable health data.
An explosion of apps has hit the world’s clinical trials scene. TrialSite News has covered some of these apps and associated stories worldwide. But, guidelines for these platforms are needed—as is criteria for messaging, informed and data privacy consent.
The new apps present challenges. The developer community in many cases don’t bring a true healthcare background to the effort and key business, compliance and operational requirements may be missed. Moreover, fundamental differences between clinical care and clinical research raise concerns that app developers must understand and factor in the appropriate security, compliance and data protection rules and parameters.
The University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Leonard Davis Institute of Health (Dr. Emily Largent) also contributed to the paper.
Dr. Stephanie Morain, Center for Medial Ethics and Health Policy