Find your app-y place

Here's where to go when you want to brand your software with the Johns Hopkins name

Doctor in hospital looking at his phone


An anesthesiologist's job can demand a lot of quick math on the spot—sometimes right at the bedside.

"There's a lot of time pressures, and calculation of a safe dose of anesthesia can happen right before it's administered to the patient," says Jonathan Lin, a specialist in anesthesiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. That's not ideal, he says, when errors can lead to serious consequences.

Lin and his Hopkins colleague JP Ouanes, both assistant professors in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, believed that an app could help with these calculations, but looking around they found none that filled that niche. So they decided to create one themselves, along with a team of bioengineering students.

Their final product, called SafeLocal, is now available for iPhones under the Johns Hopkins Digital umbrella.

But before they published SafeLocal last fall, Lin and his team went through a process with the Johns Hopkins App Review Committee. Doing so earned them the ability to advertise and brand their app as a Johns Hopkins product.

The committee vets apps for various legal, regulatory, and branding issues before granting the Hopkins seal of approval and official logo. (More details about the review process are below, and are available in full on the App Solutions page of the Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures website.)

For app developers, the process costs $3,000 annually. So far, 14 Johns Hopkins apps are published on the iTunes app store, and eight are available on Google Play.

The apps committee formed about a year ago to merge various stakeholders of the university and health system that were dealing separately with app development and deployment, according to senior IT manager Patrick Ostendarp.

"This group was formed in response to feedback from users who wanted to share their apps but did not know where to begin," Ostendarp says. "With the ever-increasing number of apps, it is important for Johns Hopkins to provide oversight but offer a streamlined process to our users."

While the committee is seeing many apps come from the medical community, Ostendarp says, the process applies to all app developers within the Johns Hopkins enterprise.

For Lin, branding SafeLocal under the Hopkins name lends critical credibility to the app.

"Would you download an app about safe local anesthesia from Joe Schmo, or would you do it from Johns Hopkins?" Lin says. "The impact of the app is based on the reputation of the institution."

Want to develop a Johns Hopkins app?

The review process applies to all faculty, staff, and students who wish to:

  • Post an app to the Hopkins app store
  • Brand the app with the Hopkins name
  • Use an app for internal Hopkins activities, such as patient care, student evaluation, or marketing

What do you need to do?

Submit details on the app through the app submission form. This may include materials such as invention disclosures, app source codes, and app diagrams.

The Johns Hopkins App Review Committee meets on the third Friday of each month and encourages applications before the first of the month.

In reviewing apps, the group considers issues related to intellectual property, risk management, branding, FDA approval, and regulations.

If an app is approved and published, its development team will submit the annual fee, which applies to apps for internal use as well as those being released to the general public.

The committee is made up of representatives from Tech Ventures, IT, Johns Hopkins Medicine Marketing & Communications, and the university's and health system's legal offices.

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