To help consumers navigate mobile health apps, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) created a best practice guide that offers advice when evaluating the merits of a specific app.
The Just Think App Mobile Health Apps 101: A Primer for Consumers recently posted to myPHR.com, an AHIMA website that offers consumers guidance on how to set up and manage their personal health information. Medical professionals can direct patients to the site to learn guidelines for using health apps.
“To make smart choices, consumers must know the right questions to ask before downloading health-related applications so their personal health information stays private and secure,” AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. “This guide gives consumers insight into what they should consider when making decisions about health apps.”
Some of the key recommendations the guide makes to ensure the privacy and security of personal health information include:
- Review privacy settings of the app and your mobile device; know your options and what the default settings are.
- Use password protection and encryption.
- Record your phone’s identifier somewhere safe and know how to use a remote wipe which will erase your data if your device is lost or stolen.
- Remember that texting is not secure; do not share confidential and personal health information via text.
Marsha Dolan, MBA, RHIA, FAHIMA, co-chair of AHIMA’s Consumer Health Practice Council, said apps can be particularly valuable for consumers with a chronic condition such as diabetes.
“A sound app can give the consumer a way to easily track their daily condition and keep all the information in one convenient place, which can then be shared directly with their doctor,” Dolan said.
The new guide is just one of many tools available on myPHR.com.