The below evaluation is an example of the types of information you may find when using our Model to assess specific apps. This sample evaluation is not intended to enable you to make a decision about choosing these specific apps for actual use, as such a decision is a personal one that you will make based on your own unique preferences, needs, and evaluation. We strongly encourage you to download these apps for yourself and use our Model to conduct your own assessment.
This evaluation was completed December 6th and 7th, 2019, and is based on publicly available information found by our Panel at that time. In June 2020, APA's contacted the app developers and offered to them an opportunity to provide feedback on these assessments. Comments from developers who responded are included here. These comments do not necessarily reflect publicy available information at the time of the original assessment or presently.
Access & Background
Does the app identify ownership?
Yes, InteraXon, Inc.
Does the app identify funding sources and conflicts of interest?
Yes, the app connects to research articles, research partners, as well as businesses.
Does the app come from a trusted source?
Yes, an established device company.
Does the app claim to be medical?
No, "Interaxon's Muse headband is not a medical device and Interaxon is not a licensed medical or healthcare provider and has no expertise in diagnosing, examining, or treating medical conditions of any kind."
Are there additional or hidden costs?
Yes. App is free to download, but there is a subscription required to unlock guided meditations. Additionally, the $120 wearable device is required for some functions in the app.
Does the app work offline?
Yes, only with associated wearable device. Without the wearable, access to guided meditations are available offline with subscription.
Does the app work with accessibility features of the iPhone/Android? Is it accessible for those with impaired vision or other disabilities?
Privacy & Safety
Does the app declare data use and purpose?
Does the app describe use of PHI?
Can you opt out of data collection or delete data?
Is data maintained in the device or on the web?
Yes, stored online, but unclear if also stored on the device.
Does the app explain security systems used?
What third parties does the app share data with?
Shares with many third parties. These are listed in app under "sharing."
If appropriate, is the app equipped to respond to potential harms or safety concerns?
Is the app content correct, well-written, and relevant?
Unclear without subscription to access services; purports guided meditation.
What are the relevant sources or references supporting the app use cases?
Research studies available online and through website in developer reserach portal.
Was there an attempt to validate app usability and feasibility?
Is there evidence of effectiveness/efficacy?
Yes, for the device, and for select populations. Found here.
What are the main engagement styles of the app?
Challenges reminders; real-time feedback; audio; biofeedback; education; visual; graphs; rewards; journaling
Do the app and its features align with your needs and priorities?
Individual choice for relaxation/mindful practice options.
Is it customizable?
Yes, through different types of guided meditations and other user settings based on individual needs.
Does the app clearly define its functional scope?
Do you own your data?
Can the app share data with EMR and other data tools (Apple HealthKit, FitBit)?
Shared only through screen and the wearable device. Lacking the wearable device, user may be unable to take advantage of 100% of guided meditation features, thus not necessarily conforming to the stated purpose of the app.
Is the app for individual use or to be used in collaboration with a provider? If intended to be used with a provider, does the app have the ability to export or transfer data?
The app is intended for individual use, through the platform, to allow clinicians to monitor use in the app.
Does the app lead to any positive behavior change or skill acquisition?
Possibly; unknown until actually using app/wearable.
Does the app improve therapeutic alliance between patient and provider?
Possibly, only after experience.