AMA mHealth App Principles Support Patient-Centered Care

November 22, 2016
Medicare Web

The American Medical Association (AMA) recently released eight principles aimed at ensuring healthcare organizations use mobile health applications (mHealth apps) focused on safe and effective patient care.

AMA Immediate Past President Steven J. Stack, M.D. believes mHealth apps should “support care delivery that is patient-centered, promotes care coordination, and facilitates team-based communication.” However, not all mHealth apps on the market are focused on protecting the health and safety of patients. The AMA’s principles are intended to guide coverage and payment policies that support the use of mHealth apps as well as to promote patient-centered care and team-based communication. Because mHealth apps can also pose a threat to patient privacy and the security of protected health information, the AMA encourages providers to increase patient awareness of the risks associated with mHealth apps.

According to the AMA, mHealth apps should do the following:

  • Support the establishment or continuation of a valid patient-physician relationship
  • Have a clinical evidence base to support their use to ensure mHealth app safety and effectiveness
  • Follow evidence-based practice guidelines, to the degree they are available, to ensure patient safety, quality of care, and positive health outcomes
  • Support care delivery that is patient-centered, promotes care coordination, and facilitates team-based communication
  • Support data portability and interoperability to promote care coordination through medical home and accountable care models
  • Abide by state licensure laws, state medical practice laws, and requirements in the state in which the patient receives services facilitated by the app
  • Require that physicians and other health practitioners delivering services through the app be licensed in the state where the patient receives services, or be providing these services as otherwise authorized by that state’s medical board
  • Ensure that the delivery of any services via the app be consistent with state scope of practice laws