Evaluating Security Features for Mobile Health Applications in Younger and Older Adults & Locking it down: The Privacy and Security of Mobile Medication Apps
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University of Waterloo, School of Pharmacy
Kelly Grindrod, Assistant Professor
The first study, Evaluating security features for mobile health applications in younger and older adults, indicates that mobile applications (apps) promoting patient self-management may improve health outcomes. However, the methods used to secure stored information on mobile devices may make the apps less usable. The study tested the reliability and usability of common password-like options in younger and older adults.
Usability testing was done with two age groups: 18-30 years and 50+ years. Participants randomly tested four password-like options: a four-digit personal identification number (PIN), a graphical password, a pattern-lock, and a fingerprint scanner.
Overall, the PIN, graphical and pattern options performed better than the fingerprint. Older participants were more likely to rate fingerprints as time consuming and annoying, and less likely to rate the PIN as tiring or time consuming. Younger participants were more likely to rate the graphical option as annoying, time consuming and tiring.
Age-related differences for different password-like options underscore the importance of usability testing in target groups when developing security features for mobile devices and apps.
The second study, Locking it down: The privacy and security of mobile medication apps, explores the privacy and security of free medication applications (apps) available to Canadian consumers.
Most free medication apps offer limited authentication and privacy protocols. The role of these systems in healthcare will remain limited until more secure systems are built.
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OPC Funded Project
This project received funding support through the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Contributions Program. The opinions expressed in the summary and report(s) are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Summaries have been provided by the project authors. Please note that the projects appear in their language of origin.
University of Waterloo
School of Pharmacy
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