Evaluation Criteria for Digital Health Interventions

Evaluation Criteria for Digital Health Interventions

Today, there is a massive amount of digital health interventions available. For example, more than 300,000 so-called “health apps” can be found in Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Stores in 2017 (Aitken, Clancy, & Nass, 2017) with the goal of measuring, monitoring and managing health states and behavior. Against this background, the following questions arise:

  1. Which of the existing digital health interventions are effective?
  2. Which side effects can occur with these digital health interventions?
  3. Which digital health interventions are “technically” secure?
  4. etc.

Few of these questions can be answered today as only a fraction of commercially available digital health interventions were evaluated accordingly, for example, with the help of randomized controlled clinical trials, the clinical gold standard in the context of evidence-based medicine. Moreover, a standardized assessment report or a professional certification of digital health interventions (e.g. similar to an easy-to-understand energy efficiency rating for consumer products), which may help not only health professionals but also healthy individuals or patients, is missing today. For some time now, therefore, the development and application of evaluation frameworks and criteria for digital health interventions has been called for. This project reviews related work in this regard and proposes an evaluation framework and criteria for digital health interventions in Switzerland. Particularly, this project has the following objectives:

  1. Review of existing international evaluation frameworks and assessment criteria for digital health interventions,
  2. Development of an evaluation framework for digital health interventions in Switzerland,
  3. Development of a criteria catalog for digital health interventions in a standard version (for detailed evaluation purposes) and a short version (for screening purposes), in particular also for the evaluation of digital health project proposals, and
  4. Discussion of next steps regarding a cured Swiss database and search engine for digital health interventions.


Kowatsch, T., Harperink, S., Cotti, A., Trémeaud, R., Schneider, J., Della Valle, M. (2021) Evaluierungs-Framework und Kriterienkatalog für digitale Gesundheitsinterventionen in der Schweiz, Gesundheitsförderung Schweiz & Zentrum für digitale Gesundheitsinterventionen der Universität St.Gallen & ETH Zürich, 10.3929/ethz-b-000470919 (PDF)

Kowatsch, T., Otto, L., Harperink, S., Cotti, A. & H. Schlieter (2019) A Design and Evaluation Framework for Digital Health Interventions, it – Information Technology 2019; 61(5-6): 253-263. (PDF)

Related Work

Aitken, M., B. Clancy and D. Nass (2017). The Growing Value of Digital Health: Evidence and Impact on Human Health and the Healthcare System. IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science.

Nouri, R., S. R. N. Kalhori, M. Ghazisaeedi, G. Marchand and M. Yasini (2018). “Criteria for assessing the quality of mHealth apps: a systematic review.” Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 25 (8), 1089-1098.

Stoyanov, S. R., L. Hides, D. J. Kavanagh, O. Zelenko, D. Tjondronegoro and M. Mani (2015). “Mobile App Rating Scale: A New Tool for Assessing the Quality of Health Mobile Apps.” JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 3 (1:e27).

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CDHI Research Team

Samira Harperink, Amanda Cotti & Prof. Dr. Tobias Kowatsch


Dec 2018 – March 2021

Health Promotion Switzerland