Two initiatives trying to curate health apps announced

app curation

With more than 100,000 health apps in Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Market, it’s getting hard for end users to know which apps will deliver the benefits promised, and which can be harmful to use or at very least – waste one’s time.

To that end, SocialWellth has teamed-up with HITLAB, an innovation and teaching lab located at Columbia University, which will support SocialWellth’s curation of mHealth apps and associated devices by systematically validating its methodologies.

“SocialWellth’s partnership with HITLAB will allow us to bring an additional level of rigor and scrutiny to our curation methodologies and processes, including our use of the Xcertia Standards,” said David Vinson, SocialWellth’s Founder and CEO.

Hacking Medicine Institute promises unbiased vetting done by Harvard-affiliated physicians.The use of HITLAB as a secondary level of validation will ensure and reinforce SocialWellth’s commitment to providing the “highest levels of service and value to its customer base.”

SocialWellth has previously worked with Cigna on its GoYou platform, and has also acquired the competing service Happtique.

The second initiative (brought to our attention by MobiHealthNews) comes from the new Hacking Medicine Institute, a nonprofit that spun out of MIT this past summer. They promise unbiased vetting done by Harvard-affiliated physicians, who will be looking at apps both for consumers and for providers.

“The way Happtique went about it, trying to charge these little companies to go in and do a certification, is the wrong model,” Hacking Medicine Institute co-founder Zen Chu told MM&M. “It’s got be done from the perspective of an unbiased nonprofit-driven organization for it to be credible and trusted both by physicians who want to prescribe [apps] as well as from patients and consumers.”

Chu believes the direct to consumer opportunity is the best way to go around app curation, because ingrained players like hospitals and other healthcare providers are slow. “And that’s why the best entrepreneurs and investigators in Silicon Valley — tech investors, not traditional healthcare investors — believe, along with me, that the digiceuticals world now feels like the Internet was in 1995,” he said. Because for the first time you can have a small start-up get funded – pre-capital -efficiently and compete head-to-head against the giants in healthcare.”

The first curated list from Hacking Medicine Institute will go live later this month.