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Digital health and the COVID-19 epidemic: an assessment framework for apps from an epidemiological and legal perspective.
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020 05 04; 150:w20282.SM

Abstract

As COVID-19 spreads across the globe, crowdsourced digital technology harbours the potential to improve surveillance and epidemic control, primarily through increased information coverage, higher information speed, fast case tracking and improved proximity tracing. Targeting those aims, COVID-19-related smartphone and web-based health applications are continuously emerging, leading to a multitude of options, raising ethical and legal challenges and potentially overwhelming end users. Building on an existing trustworthiness checklist for digital health applications, we searched the literature and developed a framework to guide the assessment of smartphone and web-based applications that aim to contribute to controlling the current epidemic or mitigating its effects. It further integrates epidemiological subject knowledge and a legal analysis, outlining the mechanisms through which new applications can support the fight against COVID-19. The resulting framework includes 40 questions across 8 domains on “purpose”, “usability”, “information accuracy”, “organisational attributes / reputation”, “transparency”, “privacy” and “user control / self-determination”. All questions should be primarily answerable from publicly available data, as provided by application manufacturers. The framework aims to guide end users in choosing a transparent, safe and valuable application and suggests a set of information items that developers ideally make available to allow a balanced judgement and facilitate the trustworthiness of their products.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Faculty of Law, University of Zurich, Switzerland.Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, University of Zurich, Switzerland.Institute for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland.Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland.Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, University of Zurich, Switzerland / Institute for Implementation Science in Health Care, University of Zurich, Switzerland.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

32418194

Citation

Vokinger, Kerstin Noelle, et al. "Digital Health and the COVID-19 Epidemic: an Assessment Framework for Apps From an Epidemiological and Legal Perspective." Swiss Medical Weekly, vol. 150, 2020, pp. w20282.
Vokinger KN, Nittas V, Witt CM, et al. Digital health and the COVID-19 epidemic: an assessment framework for apps from an epidemiological and legal perspective. Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20282.
Vokinger, K. N., Nittas, V., Witt, C. M., Fabrikant, S. I., & von Wyl, V. (2020). Digital health and the COVID-19 epidemic: an assessment framework for apps from an epidemiological and legal perspective. Swiss Medical Weekly, 150, w20282. https://doi.org/10.4414/smw.2020.20282
Vokinger KN, et al. Digital Health and the COVID-19 Epidemic: an Assessment Framework for Apps From an Epidemiological and Legal Perspective. Swiss Med Wkly. 2020 05 4;150:w20282. PubMed PMID: 32418194.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Digital health and the COVID-19 epidemic: an assessment framework for apps from an epidemiological and legal perspective. AU - Vokinger,Kerstin Noelle, AU - Nittas,Vasileios, AU - Witt,Claudia M, AU - Fabrikant,Sara Irina, AU - von Wyl,Viktor, Y1 - 2020/05/17/ PY - 2020/5/18/entrez PY - 2020/5/18/pubmed PY - 2020/5/27/medline SP - w20282 EP - w20282 JF - Swiss medical weekly JO - Swiss Med Wkly VL - 150 N2 - As COVID-19 spreads across the globe, crowdsourced digital technology harbours the potential to improve surveillance and epidemic control, primarily through increased information coverage, higher information speed, fast case tracking and improved proximity tracing. Targeting those aims, COVID-19-related smartphone and web-based health applications are continuously emerging, leading to a multitude of options, raising ethical and legal challenges and potentially overwhelming end users. Building on an existing trustworthiness checklist for digital health applications, we searched the literature and developed a framework to guide the assessment of smartphone and web-based applications that aim to contribute to controlling the current epidemic or mitigating its effects. It further integrates epidemiological subject knowledge and a legal analysis, outlining the mechanisms through which new applications can support the fight against COVID-19. The resulting framework includes 40 questions across 8 domains on “purpose”, “usability”, “information accuracy”, “organisational attributes / reputation”, “transparency”, “privacy” and “user control / self-determination”. All questions should be primarily answerable from publicly available data, as provided by application manufacturers. The framework aims to guide end users in choosing a transparent, safe and valuable application and suggests a set of information items that developers ideally make available to allow a balanced judgement and facilitate the trustworthiness of their products. SN - 1424-3997 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/32418194/Digital_health_and_the_COVID-19_epidemic:_an_assessment_framework_for_apps_from_an_epidemiological_and_legal_perspective L2 - https://doi.emh.ch/10.4414/smw.2020.20282 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -