“We need a framework with which the people who are prescribing Health Apps feel comfortable and in control"

The Official College of Nurses of Barcelona (COIB) has been collaborating for more than 10 years with the Health and Well-being App Certification Service of the TIC Salut Social Foundation. It strives to evaluate the contents and the usefulness of the functionalities of the mobile applications that requested the service and that are related to their field of work. To find out the COIB’s point of view, we spoke with its project manager and member of the Functional Expert Committee of the Foundation’s App Certification Service, Marc Fortes.   

Need for a regulatory framework

One of the key aspects in the field of Health Apps, according to Fortes, is through “ensuring that these tools that exist and are available to society, are regulated, are suitable and, above all, that the people who use them can do so in the best conditions. We need a framework with which people who are prescribing Health Apps feel comfortable and have control over it”.

To illustrate the need for a regulatory framework, the COIB representative gives an example of prescribing drugs: “doctors who have the possibility to prescribe drugs do so with complete peace of mind because there is a wide range of regulatory elements that allow us to do so based on our knowledge, knowing that these drugs fulfil a wide range of requirements. So, with health applications, I think we have to achieve something similar”.

On the other hand, Fortes positively values the efforts being made in European matters to foster ISO/TS 82304-2, as has been done since European project Label2Enable, with the aim of achieving greater trust, use and adoption of health applications.

Contribution of the COIB to the App Certification Service

COIB’s role in the App Certification Service focuses on evaluating the Apps from a holistic point of view. In this regard, they not only verify that the health information in the App is based on scientific evidence and good professional practices, but also that it considers other aspects of interest to both professionals and users, such as its efficiency and time of use.

Apart from the COIB participating in the Committee of Experts, the College has had the “Virtual Nurse” free App certified since 2021, aimed at citizens and the group of health professionals alike, with the aim of promoting people’s autonomy and independence in making decisions regarding their health. The latest innovation of this project is the new skill they have developed by Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, in its screen version.

  • We spoke with Marc Fortes, project manager of the Official College of Nurses of Barcelona, and member of the Committee of Functional Experts of the App Certification Service of the TIC Salut Social Foundation.