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 May 2020, and is based on publicly available information found by our Panel at that time. In July 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
On which platforms/operating systems does the app work? Does it also work on desktop?
Apple iOS, Google Android.
Has the app been updated in the last 180 days?
Yes, v4.1.0 released 09/10/2020
Does the app identify ownership?
Sober Grid, Inc.
Does the app identify funding sources and conflicts of interest?
The app is subscription based.
Does the app come from a trusted source?
Unclear, this is a company with no clear links to national organizations or known SUD organizations.
Does the app claim to be medical?
No, it is a social networking site.
Are there additional or hidden costs?
The app is subscription based (in-app purchases), but is free to download initially.
Does the app work offline?
Though some features might work off line, the primary social networking capabilities/core features of the app do not.
Does the app work with accessibility features of the iPhone/Android? Is it accessible for those with impaired vision or other disabilities?
Upon testing, the reviewers determined that it works with the phone accessibility features.
Privacy & Safety
Yes, Apple store description links to the policy.
Does the app collect, use, and/or transmit sensitive data? If yes, does it claim to do so securely?
Yes, they collect sensitive information (SUD status, recovery) and describe how they try to keep it safe.
Does the app declare data use and purpose?
Does the app describe use of PHI?
Yes, uses both personal data and also describes how they use anonymous/deidentified data; does not appear to collect PHI.
Can you opt out of data collection or delete data?
Yes, you can opt out of data collection and ask for data to be deleted.
Is data maintained in the device or on the web?
Some data are maintained on a server.
Does the app explain security systems used?
Yes, they describe how to keep accounts secure and describe using technology to help with this.
What third parties does the app share data with?
They do not describe which third parties they share data with, just that they do and that the data may be used for research.
If appropriate, is the app equipped to respond to potential harms or safety concerns?
Not immediately obvious to the reviewers, though there are ways to click for help in real-time (e.g., speak with recovery coach/peer coaches).
Does the app appear to do what it claims to do?
Yes, it allows individuals to network with others with SUD, as described.
Does the app have a clinical/recovery foundation relevant to your intended use?
Yes, they aim to promote SUD recovery.
Is the app content correct, well-written, and relevant?
Yes, the app is asthetically pleasing and information provided within the scope of the app is relevant for those seeking to network with others with SUD.
What are the relevant sources or references supporting the app use cases?
The reviewers could find no sources or references supporting the app's use cases.
Was there an attempt to validate app usability and feasibility?
There is ongoing effort to validate the app's usability and feasability via an NIH grant with other partners.
Does the app seem easy to use?
Yes, according to these reviewers, the app is very intuitive and easy to use.
What are the main engagement styles of the app?
Peer support, informational, but also offer types of support groups within the app, and recovery coaching.
Do the app and its features align with your needs and priorities?
It is in alignment with the population it serves (though not necessarily for these reviewers).
Is it customizable?
Yes, users can modify their network and how they engage with the app.
Does the app clearly define its functional scope?
Yes, the app promotes itself as a social network and recovery promoting platform.
Can data be easily shared and interpreted in a way that's consistent with the stated purpose of the app?
Users can ask for the data to be deleted, but it is not immediately apparent how data can be exported, if at all.
Do you own your data?
Data "ownership" is unclear, but users can ask for the data to be deleted, but it is not immediately apparent how data can be exported, if at all.
Can the app share data with EMR and other data tools (Apple HealthKit, FitBit)?
Unclear to these reviewers if these features are compatible with this 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?
This app is intended for individual use.
Does the app lead to any positive behavior change or skill acquisition?
Yes. According to these reviewers, iit promotes recovery.
Does the app improve therapeutic alliance between patient and provider?
We did not participate in the recovery coaching feature of the app, though it is accessible through subscription for those diagnosed with SUD.