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Health 2.0: Do e-Health Tools Need Peer Review?

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, September 27, 2011

The e-health market is bloated with simple tools for patients—online weight trackers and apps that offer exercise and diet tips, for example. And there's no dearth of physician tools that aid decision support, diagnosis, or provide access to medical references. 

So where are the opportunities in e-health—those markets that aren't already flooded with products and crowded competitors? Some clear answers to that question are emerging at the fifth annual Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco this week.  

Review and certification

One opportunity has arisen precisely because there are so many similar eHealth tools from which to choose. The industry needs reliable, reputable sources in the public and private sectors to vet them or even professional associations that could certify them, Marco Smit, president of Health 2.0 Advisors said during a small-group discussion on Health 2.0 white spaces.

Browse the medical category in Apple's App Store and you'll quickly see why there's a need — there are a lot of applications listed, but many are unrated or have only a few contradictory reviews. You could scroll and click all day and still not have a good idea of whether or not an app is worthwhile.

"Curated content" could include peer and expert reviews of apps, for example, and clinical studies as to the efficacy of e-health tools.

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