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Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag

02.05.2019 | Publication

Health apps on the test bench

Policy brief TAB-Fokus no. 18 »Health apps« provides a quick overview of the topic and related trends as well as options for action.

There is a broad variety of health apps which is constantly being expanded. The offer ranges from fitness and nutrition apps to apps providing support in case of illness. With constantly new functionalities, these apps open up innovation potentials by accompanying everyday forms of people’s health behaviour in an individually adapted way. Numerous health apps are developed for people with chronic diseases to support them in coping independently and actively with problems of everyday life and making competent decisions.

Despite the large number of health apps, there is only little evidence regarding the benefits as well as the health-promoting and preventive effects of these apps. The market for health apps is hardly regulated. Moreover, there is a lack of reliable quality control taking into account particularly the issue of data protection. The TAB innovation analysis »Health Apps« gives an overview of different categorisation approaches as well as of the current technological and economic development trends with regard to health apps. In addition, it identifies points for debate in society, value orientations and political options for action serving as a basis for an assessment of innovation potentials.

The TAB-Fokus no. 18, which is now available in English, features the key findings of the TA study, which was prepared from 2016 to 2017.

For the full report TAB-Arbeitsbericht Nr. 179, published in March 2019 after acceptance by the German Bundestag, please visit the German project page.