In a few short years apps have proven themselves to be better tools than they are toys. Mobile app developers quickly caught on to this and have been developing priceless apps for almost every industry. One industry in particular that has greatly benefited from this boom in mobile app development is the medical industry. Apps that help doctors have made a huge difference in patient care from the lab to the bedside. Since these apps can directly affect patient care they have an extra obstacle in FDA approval.
The FDA is not trying to be bad guys in this situation, they just want to be sure that all medical apps are in the patient’s best interest. The FDA even states, “The FDA encourages further development of mobile medical apps that improve health care and provide consumers and health care professionals with valuable health information very quickly.” However they also go on to say, “The FDA has a public health responsibility to oversee the safety and effectiveness of a small subset of mobile medical applications that present a potential risk to patients if they do not work as intended.”
It is understandable that the FDA may want to regulate certain mobile apps that may be harmful or misleading. There are already a handful of approved mobile apps on the market that are making a big splash. On the consumer end you can find apps that will help to determine symptoms of common illnesses and often suggest treatment or medical attention. While consumer based apps are great they are not what mobile app developers and the FDA are currently concerned about.
New applications are changing the internal workings of clinics everywhere. Applications like Mobile MIM, which is FDA approved, is changing the way that doctors look at results. Doctors can know receive images from X-rays, CT scans, Ultrasounds, MRIs, and more from anywhere in the hospital, not to mention the world. There are also a few different apps on the market that show beautiful displays of the human body. These apps have two important functions one being a great study tool for doctors to remain fresh on their anatomy, the other is being able to show patients in a realistic fashion where their affliction lies. A fairly new and very innovative app on the market that has recently received FDA approval is the AirStrip Cardiology app. Much like Mobile MIM doctors are able to wirelessly view ECG results and access historical data allowing cardiologist to make informed and timely decisions.
All of these apps offer doctors more time to spend at patient’s bedsides and on patient treatment. This gives doctor’s more of a chance to get to know their patient and offer the best possible treatment. While FDA intervention in the mobile app development process may be frustrating to mobile app developers it is for the safety of doctors and patients alike. The FDA encourages feedback from mobile app developers and healthcare providers alike to work closely for a balance between medical mobile app development and safety.