MASSDEVICE ON CALL — A debate is growing between healthcare providers and Silicon Valley app-makers over the proper role and rate of regulation for mobile apps that may impact patient health.
Given the FDA’s largely hands-off stance on healthcare apps and the limited scope of oversight app market regulators like Apple Inc. (NSDQ:AAPL) and Google(NSDQ:GOOG), some doctors are concerned that patients may be harmed by shady programs that claim to prevent, detect or even cure what ails you.
"If patients perceive a mobile app as a cheaper alternative to a trip to my office, that’s worrying," physician and digital health consultant Dr. Molly Maloof told Reuters. "
Apple’s new healthcare push, unveiled earlier this month, may entice ever more developers to get into digital health without doing their homework. Apple’s next iteration of its iPhone software will include the HealthKit development platform and the Health app, designed to aggregate health information from a variety of sources, including wearable devices and patient logs.
App makers have argued that undue regulation will only chill innovation, adding that the FDA may not have the resources to keep up with the ever-increasing tide of health-based apps.
The FDA has come down on a few app-makers who made medical claims without seeking regulatory review, but industry analysts say that app store monitors at Apple and Google should lend a hand as well.
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