A nonprofit institute, spun off from the healthcare entrepreneurship program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will soon start producing consumer reviews of mobile apps and other digital health tools that have been vetted by Harvard University clinicians, the nonprofit’s co-founder said.
Set to launch in early December, these will consist of a consumer-focused list of the best apps, connected medical devices and technology-enabled services that are reviewed by Harvard physicians as well as by technical experts from MIT’s Hacking Medicine Institute.
“None of the clinical institutes are willing to take that institutional risk to say, ‘These are the best’ and to say, actually, [that] ‘these are unsafe at any speed.’ But the Hacking Medicine Institute is a group of hackers, and we can take that risk,” said Zen Chu, a co-founder of the organization, which launched this past June.
The initial list will include a preliminary batch of what the institute considers the best apps, connected medical devices, telemedicine and websites for preventing and managing disease as well as for finding care. Regular updates to the list are planned throughout the year.
Health apps, reportedly numbering in the tens of thousands, vary widely in content and quality. The institute wants to “cut through the noise and the hype,” said Chu, who is also a senior lecturer in healthcare innovation at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and an entrepreneur-in-residence at the university.