Research Evidence and Other Information Sources
Much of the aggregated information about mHealth is available in grey and trade literature, suggesting a lack of robust information to inform clinical, investment, and policy decisions. In truth, a great deal of valuable information is available. The challenge often lies in knowing where the information is located and in assessing the credibility of the information for decision support. Consumers are indeed challenged by a lack of comprehensive, organized directories and evaluative criteria in choosing apps for personal use. Additionally, providers are similarly challenged in recommending this same type of apps. For apps associated with medical devices, the required FDA approval removes much of the uncertainty. Rigorous, theory-based, and controlled research is essential to inform clinical, policy, and regulatory decisions. However, such research is time- and resource-intensive and involves considerable lag time between the investigation and subsequent publication of findings and recommendations. This type of research is not required for the types of information needed by consumers and app developers, and is not appropriate at all stages of an investigative process. For some questions time sensitivity is more important than statistically validated information. Answers to these types of questions often are found in digital media and other publications of limited circulation. Information consumers must first articulate the intended use of the information, then identify credible sources for accessing the needed information, and apply appropriate criteria for making their decision.
KeywordsService Quality Grey Literature Mobile Health Acceptance Behavior mHealth Technology
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