Online Program

Quality assurance assessment of downloadable applications in health promotion and preventive healthcare

Monday, November 4, 2013

Meredith McCracken, MPH, Innovative Educational Resources, East Stroudsburg, PA
Steven Godin, PhD, MPH, Department of Health Studies, East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, PA
Susan Dalandan, MPH Student, Deaprtment of Health Studies, East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, PA
For over a decade, the Internet has been an important consumer education tool for those seeking to improve their health literacy. In recent years, there has been a proliferation of over 7,000 downloadable applications in health promotion and preventive health care for smart phones. Concerns remain within the field of consumer health informatics regarding the quality of these downloadable applications, and the ramifications for consumer health literacy. This study used an instrument developed by Godin (2005; 2009) that assessed quality of 60 apps providing health promotion in the areas of ‘healthy diet', ‘obesity', ‘smoking cessation', and ‘cancer prevention'. Two raters, with high Kappa inter-rater reliability coefficients found the following: 1) Only 13% of the apps provided information on the author(s) professional credentials; 2) Less than 5% of the apps indicated the educational material was "peer reviewed" by appropriate parties; 3) Approximately 15% of the apps provided references to support educational narrative; and 4) While about 35% of the apps allow users to interact and provide personal information, only 10% provide assurances that their information shared will remain confidential, or that privacy would be maintained. Numerous significant chi-square comparisons were made demonstrating that free applications were superior in quality compared to those costing in the $1 to $4 range. Results of this study are discussed within the context of efforts being made within federal public health organizations (i.e., NIH; FDA) to oversee and regulate websites and downloadable applications that originate within the US.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
List criteria needed to assess quality of downloadable applications; Evaluate strengths and weaknesses of existing applications in health promotion and preventive healthcare; Articulate the need for federal organizations to oversee and regulate applications for smart phones in health promotion and health literacy efforts.

Keyword(s): Information Technology, Health Literacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I graduated with my MPH from East Stroudsburg University and currently have the position of Manager of Health Programs at Innovative Educational Resources.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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