ECoWeB meets suggested quality standards
The number of mental health applications designed to improve psychological well-being has been rapidly increasing in the past years. Currently, more than 10.000 mental health apps are commercially available. Yet, contrary to any other newly developed treatment which needs to undergo rigorous examination, end users and researchers alike lack universal standards by which they can assess the suitability and quality of mental health apps.
Therefore, a recent research article (find more details here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6313231/) published in the World psychiatry scientific journal conclud
es that it is crucial for researchers, developers and policy makers to establish and meet general quality standards. In this paper, leading researchers in the mobile Health field present suggestions for quality standards in various domains, spanning from data safety and privacy over app effectiveness to user experience.
We are proud to say that the ECoWeB project already meets many of the suggested quality standards. Take data protection, for example: Our app will meet strict regulations for data use, storage and sharing according to the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/priorities/justice-and-fundamental-rights/data-protection/2018-reform-eu-data-protection-rules_en). This is ensured by making transparent where data will be stored and which parties have access to data.
Concerning app effectiveness, the ECoWeB project is based on scientifically proven intervention techniques (find out more in this recent blog post: http://www.ecowebproject.eu/social-media-use-in-youth-does-social-media-use-harm-teenagers-2/). By combining different intervention programs and tailoring these to the user’s needs, we aim to test the effectiveness of our innovative “precision mental health” approach against standard intervention approaches. Moreover, ECoWeB strives to develop and validate new ways of reliably assessing early indicators of mental health problems to provide these low-threshold interventions to emerging adults at risk. Finally, user-friendliness is a crucial factor in app design. Adhering to the suggestion of the researchers’ article above, ECoWeB actively involves the intended users in the development process. In our project, we regularly conduct Youth Advisory Boards with young people across Europe, who provide helpful feedback on usability, design and usefulness of the app.
The ECoWeB project thus supports the development of universal quality standards for mobile mental health interventions – until these standards exist and are met by all actors, we do our best to develop a high-quality and scientifically based app with an intuitive user experience.