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Mobile apps for travel medicine and ethical considerations: A systematic review


Ferretti, Agata; Hedrich, Nadja; Lovey, Thibault; Vayena, Effy; Schlagenhauf, Patricia (2021). Mobile apps for travel medicine and ethical considerations: A systematic review. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, 43:102143.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The advent of mobile applications for health and medicine will revolutionize travel medicine. Despite their many benefits, such as access to real-time data, mobile apps for travel medicine are accompanied by many ethical issues, including questions about security and privacy.

METHODS

A systematic literature review as conducted following PRISMA guidelines. Database screening yielded 1795 results and seven papers satisfied the criteria for inclusion. Through a mix of inductive and deductive data extraction, this systematic review examined both the benefits and challenges, as well as ethical considerations, of mobile apps for travel medicine.

RESULTS

Ethical considerations were discussed with varying depth across the included articles, with privacy and data protection mentioned most frequently, highlighting concerns over sensitive information and a lack of guidelines in the digital sphere. Additionally, technical concerns about data quality and bias were predominant issues for researchers and developers alike. Some ethical issues were not discussed at all, including equity, and user involvement.

CONCLUSION

This paper highlights the scarcity of discussion around ethical issues. Both researchers and developers need to better integrate ethical reflection at each step of the development and use of health apps. More effective oversight mechanisms and clearer ethical guidance are needed to guide the stakeholders in this endeavour.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The advent of mobile applications for health and medicine will revolutionize travel medicine. Despite their many benefits, such as access to real-time data, mobile apps for travel medicine are accompanied by many ethical issues, including questions about security and privacy.

METHODS

A systematic literature review as conducted following PRISMA guidelines. Database screening yielded 1795 results and seven papers satisfied the criteria for inclusion. Through a mix of inductive and deductive data extraction, this systematic review examined both the benefits and challenges, as well as ethical considerations, of mobile apps for travel medicine.

RESULTS

Ethical considerations were discussed with varying depth across the included articles, with privacy and data protection mentioned most frequently, highlighting concerns over sensitive information and a lack of guidelines in the digital sphere. Additionally, technical concerns about data quality and bias were predominant issues for researchers and developers alike. Some ethical issues were not discussed at all, including equity, and user involvement.

CONCLUSION

This paper highlights the scarcity of discussion around ethical issues. Both researchers and developers need to better integrate ethical reflection at each step of the development and use of health apps. More effective oversight mechanisms and clearer ethical guidance are needed to guide the stakeholders in this endeavour.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
Health Sciences > Infectious Diseases
Language:English
Date:September 2021
Deposited On:28 Jan 2022 17:05
Last Modified:26 Jun 2024 01:51
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1477-8939
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tmaid.2021.102143
PubMed ID:34256131
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)