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Research on effectiveness of mobile health app

May 3, 2018 | Failure to Diagnose

Physicians in New York have many resources that they can use to help determine the types of tests and diagnoses patients need. Mobile health applications are one of the tools that may help improve how physicians make diagnostic decisions. However, many of them have not been clinically evaluated.

One app, the PTT Advisor created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been the subject of a clinical evaluation conducted by researchers from both the CDC and Baylor College of Medicine. The researchers studied the app to determine if it was able to improve how physicians can make decisions regarding test ordering and diagnoses for certain types of bleeding and coagulation disorders. Researchers also wanted to know if the physicians were able to use the app for learning.

The research team began the study by reviewing available literature for references to proven methodologies for evaluating mobile health apps. After no such methodologies were located, the team developed a methodology on their own that would serve as a foundation for evaluating how useful the apps could be.

The evaluation of the app involved using eight vignettes with details that were taken from actual clinical cases. The 46 physicians who participated in the study were prompted to make decisions related to diagnosis and test ordering. Each physician addressed half of their vignettes using typical clinical decision support and the other half using the app. The results indicated that the app was able to improve the accuracy of diagnosing.

When health care professionals fail to make timely diagnoses, patients can suffer major medical issues. An attorney could examine the factors of such a victim’s case and pursue financial compensation against attending physicians for negligent medical treatment.