Government Agencies Face Big Hurdles In mHealth App Innovation

Judy Motti | FierceMobile Healthcare | December 31, 2014

Governmental agencies face a wide spectrum of challenges in creating mHealth apps, ranging from a changing development culture to potential litigious issues, revealed a new report published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.   "Beyond the cultural paradigm shift to design interactive apps and to open health-related data to the public, the managerial challenges include accessibility, interoperability, security, privacy, and legal concerns using interactive apps tracking citizen," stated the report, "The Long Way From Government Open Data to Mobile Health Apps: Overcoming Institutional Barriers in the US Federal Government."

The research effort focused on understanding institutional and managerial barriers to mHealth apps and how agencies are carving pathways to meet policy mandates from the White House Digital Government Strategy. The research team interviewed 35 agency managers on vetting and implementing of apps via the open innovation platform. It was led by Ines Mergel, at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Department of Public Administration and International Affairs, Syracuse University,  Agencies are undertaking three app development paths: Building either in-house or contracting out to Web design vendors; adopting at least two customer-facing mobile apps, or using a policy instrument called "Prizes and Challenges," which encourages civic hackers to design health-related mobile apps using open government data from study noted that agencies are typically not tasked with inventing apps, as they lack the design skills and need to rethink their approach of informing and educating the public given new technological platforms...