If you have a pulse and are familiar with Apple’s iPhone, you’ve heard the slogan “there’s an app for that.” With the number of apps exceeding 350,000 for just the iPhone and iPod Touch iOS platform, and ten of thousands of apps for the Android, BlackBerry and other smartphones, there are countless medical apps available. And just like Apple’s well known modern slogan, there is also another phase which is much older, scientia potentia est or “knowledge is power” – this is the phase that worries the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA is now proposing guidelines to regulate a small number of medical apps and oversee those that they deem could be dangerous to the general public if the information presented is wrong. All of these apps are medical related and will only be regulated if the information presented could put an individual at risk if the apps does not work as intended.
The policy advisor to the FDA, Bakul Patel, states that some of the apps have a simple goal of helping consumers manage their own health and wellness, for example the National Institutes of Health’s LactMed app, which gives nursing mothers information about the effects of medicines on breast milk and nursing infants. While there are other apps help health care providers improve and facilitate patient care – the Radiation Emergency Medical Management (REMM) app gives health care providers guidance on diagnosing and treating radiation injuries. Read the rest of this entry »