mHealth App Selection - Standards and Resources

The overlap between consumer and professional products within the mHealth world creates a confusing mix of standards, product reviews, and available resources that are not all relevant to clinical needs. TTAC found several organizations and online resources especially useful in the creation of the toolkit materials, as listed below. Clinical Standards

At this time, few resources exist to guide clinicians or developers in the delivery of mHealth services or their associated apps. At issue is the encouragement of unfettered mHealth app development vs. the need to ensure patient safety, further complicated by the definition and taxation of “medical devices”.  If a smart phone is used to capture and store patient data, should it then be regulated as a medical device? Technology developers are charging ahead

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released a document entitled "Guidelines for Managing and Securing Mobile Devices in the Enterprise", which discusses many of the IT security issues that should be addressed when planning to deploy mobile devices in a clinical environment.

Guidelines for Managing and Securing Mobile Devices in the Enterprise.pdf |  Download Adobe Reader

Technical Standards

Standardization of communication protocols, device interfaces, and operating systems is an important aspect of mHealth. These standards make it possible for peripherals to communicate with devices, and for devices to communicate with one another.

IEEE - The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is one of the leading organizations in the creation and promotion of technology and process-related standards. They have pushed the 802.11 and 802.15 standards, both of which relate to the wireless transmission of data. These standards are implemented extensively in wireless routers, access points, and mobile devices.

Bluetooth - Bluetooth is another set of wireless standards utilized within the mobile-device industry. Many of the peripherals that wirelessly connect to mobile devices utilize a version of the Bluetooth standard.

Continua Alliance - The Continua Alliance has established itself as an important standards body in the healthcare technology world, working with manufacturers, clinicians, and other standards groups to promote connected devices in the world of healthcare.

Wi-Fi Alliance - The Wi-Fi Alliance promotes the use of the 802.11 series of standards from the IEEE, providing certification for devices that have implemented those standards. "Wi-Fi" is a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance.

ZigBee - ZigBee is an implementation of the 802 series of IEEE standards, providing another option for wireless data transmission in mobile medical peripherals.


The internet is full of sites that provide information about consumer products, especially those items that fit within the mobile and computer technology landscape. We found the following sites especially useful in our review and research process.

Online Review Sites - is the largest online retailer. The website allows users to input their own reviews of products. While the user review information is not the result of consistent or controlled tests, useful information about mobile apps and products can be found on this site.

C|NET - CNet, a subsidiary of CBS, is a large technology review site that provides free information from their product tests. Much of their focus is on consumer products, including mobile phones, tablets, computers, and accessories.

Consumer Reports - Consumer Reports is a subscription-based website magazine and website that reviews over 5,000 products each year. Membership is required to view their product information. As with C|Net, their focus is on consumer goods and includes various mobile devices and computers.

iMedicalApps - iMedicalApps is a website that provides reviews and information on mobile software for healthcare. They allow searching of information by device type, application type, or medical specialty, and also provide a broad category for mHealth-specific applications.

Industry Organizations & Events

ATA mHealth SIG - The American Telemedicine Association has a special interest group (SIG) that focuses on issues related to mHealth. You must be a member to access most of the SIG resources.

Wireless Health Strategies - At one point, Wireless Health Strategies had what appeared to be the most extensive list of mHealth-related industry events that we have found, with national and international conferences listed in their calendar.  (Update 10/2/2013: The existing links to Wireless Health Strategies no longer seem to work, and appear to redirect to, a site whose connection to the original WHS is unclear at this time).

Do you feel that we missed an important mHealth resource? Do you have input that you would like to share with us at TTAC? Please contact us to let us know!