Health Apps and Real Time Consults

July 19, 2011

There was more on the FDAs decision about health apps today. According to an informative blog post by Brian Dolan on MobileHealth News, the FDA will not regulate most apps. Some specific use cases for apps that won’t be regulated include:

  • “that are electronic “copies” of medical textbooks, teaching aids or reference materials
  • “that are solely used to log, record, track, evaluate, or make decisions or suggestions related to developing or maintaining general health and wellness.
  • “that only automate general office operations with functionalities that include billing, inventory, appointments, or insurance transactions.
  • “that are generic aids that assist users but are not commercially marketed for a specific medical indication”

As always with the FDA, the concern is how the app influences treatment.

Also announced was the real time iConsult where physician users can “consult” in real time with specialist and others and include photos and xrays in the request. Sounds like twitter consult but more secure.

In a 2010 post by @Berci Mesko, he notes doing consults via Twitter:

What would I do if in 2000 Now
I need clinical answer Try to find a collegue who knows it Post a question on Twitter
I want to hear patient story about a specific condition Try to find a patient in my town Read blogs, watch Youtube
I want to be up-to-date Go to the library once a week Use RSS and follow hundreds of journals
I want to work on a manuscript with my team We gather around the table Use Google Docs without geographical limits

My take is that most physicians are concerned about doing this but early adopters can share their successes and issues for the others.

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