The use of mobile medical apps by clinicians and others has grown considerably since the introduction of mobile phones. Medical apps offer clinicians the ability to access medical knowledge and patient data at the point of care, but several studies have highlighted apps that could compromise patient safety and are potentially dangerous. This article identifies a range of different kinds of risks that medical apps can contribute to and important contextual variables that can modify these risks. We have also developed a simple generic risk framework that app users, developers, and other stakeholders can use to assess the likely risks posed by a specific app in a specific context. This should help app commissioners, developers, and users to manage risks and improve patient safety.
Keywords: mHealth; medical app; medical informatics applications; mobile health; mobile phone; patient safety; risk assessment; smartphone.