The Health Navigator app library is a New Zealand-based resource to make it easier and safer for New Zealanders to identify useful and relevant health apps.
The apps in the library are reviewed by our team and then independently reviewed by clinicians in the relevant field. This makes it quick and easy for you to find trusted apps you can use to make a difference to your health. This initiative is supported by the Ministry of Health and is overseen by the NZ App Library Advisory Group
On this page you will find information on:
App selection process
Apps are added in groups relating to a specific clinical area. Categories are usually based on requests from the Health Navigator editorial team, external requests from clinicians and consumers or from searching other independent app review websites.
Once a clinical area has been identified, we carry out a search to work out which apps to include. This includes a formal literature search to identify studies that have assessed individual apps or categories of apps. We also search other independent app review websites and undertake a general Google search for app reviews.
We then do another literature search to help identify useful features and criteria to assess apps within that clinical category (eg, functionality features desirable in medication reminder apps).
Based on the app description, we download apps within the category and carry out an initial review to assess their potential usefulness. The main inclusion criteria are that the app must have an English language option, and should be widely available rather than have restricted access. Both New Zealand and non-New Zealand based apps are included. We mainly include free apps but also consider some paid apps. During the internal review, the features, functionality and information quality of the app are assessed bearing in mind the main purpose of the app and its target audience. In addition, the relevance to a New Zealand audience is assessed and a summary of the pros and cons or likes and dislikes of the app are created.
Once an internal review deems the app useful, a clinical review is undertaken. This is done by a health professional working in the relevant clinical area. This review aims to gauge the clinical value of the app and its relevance and highlights any safety issues. Apps are excluded that are deemed to be clinically unsafe or, potentially harmful to the user, or if the risks of using this app are greater than the benefits. Other reasons for excluding apps include incomplete content, functionality issues and security or privacy issues. The app name and the reason for exclusion are documented on the app category overview page.
The following figure gives an overview of the app selection process.
App review process
The app review process comprises 4 main steps — overall review, clinical review, NZ relevance and user review.
We offer more than reviews. Based on our findings from literature searches, we provide guidance on the sorts of things to consider when choosing from a category of apps, such as how to choose pain management apps. We also have information on how to use apps safely, eg, tips when using blood pressure apps.
Where there are lots of apps within a specific clinical area and we can’t review all of them, we identify independent organisations that have reviewed these apps, eg, autism apps.
Despite our efforts to provide you with the information you need to choose a health app, there are some limitations to this process. First, although we download and test apps, we rely to some extent on the description on the app website and developer-provided documentation. We do not do independent testing to validate claims. Second, as with all reviews, each review reflects the opinion of the reviewer, in this case a clinician with relevant expertise. If you are unsure about whether an app is right for you, you can discuss this with your healthcare provider.
We are grateful to also have the expertise and input from a wide range of clinical, business and consumer advisors.
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If you're unsure about how to choose a health app, need information on how to improve your safety and security when using an app, or are thinking of developing a health app, check out the following Health Navigator 'how-to' guides.
Guides for choosing an app
Safety and security
Developing a health app
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