Patients today use a number of apps that purport to track and treat a panoply of ailments, a headache for regulators and patient safety advocates.
A smartphone app that rids you of acne. Another that monitors your heart rate 24-7. One that detects skin cancer by looking at your birthmarks. If they sound too good to be true, they may be.
Patients today use a number of apps that purport to track and treat a panoply of ailments, a headache for regulators and patient safety advocates. Now, the advent of wearable devices bristling with sophisticated biotracking sensors is stirring concern in the medical community about misdiagnoses that could have serious consequences for consumers.
Some are asking whether Apple and
"Most of the health apps out there are built by people with zero medical experience," said
This week Apple introduced "Healthkit," a repository of data for medical apps that opens up new realms for developers to explore. It may also make it easier for those with scant understanding of regulatory protocols to dive into the market.
Health apps are big business for Apple and
How the two companies, who both declined to comment for this story, will handle the proliferation of medical apps is unclear. One source familiar with the matter said Apple is looking to add a regulatory expert to its growing digital health team, who will be tasked with oversight of the
A 2012 study by the
Medical professionals fear patients may defer an in-person checkup because of faulty results. By the time they see a doctor it may be too late. A false negative for cancer, for instance, may prompt a user to put off professional consultation.
A SHORTAGE OF MONITORING RESOURCES
Echoing a familiar
Patient safety advocates counter that the
Policymakers are struggling to keep up. The
According to an IMSHealth report from
Reuters found several dozen applications on the
Those products have not been cleared by the feds, and offer little or no clinical evidence to back up their claims.
Some say Apple and
If these companies are not more proactive, "nothing will be remedied until bodies start piling up," said
Dolan points to Cardiograph, an app from Macropinch that sells for
It claims to monitor people's heart rate with "the same approach used by professional medical equipment."
The app's description contains anonymous reviews advising patients to ignore the disclaimer: "Warning: The instrument, although accurate, is not an actual medical equipment. Consult your physician."
Most Popular Stories
- Sutherland Responds to 'Unprofessional' Jibe
- Business Leaders Set for CHCC Convention
- DishLATINO Wins Hispanic TV Award
- Twitter's Stock Rises on Stellar Revenues
- Ebola Outbreak Strikes Fear in Minnesota
- Judge Orders Kurdistan Oil Seized
- Beyonce Seen Apartment Shopping in NYC Without Jay Z
- Is California Going to Land Tesla's Battery Plant?
- Florida Warns Beach-goers About Flesh-eating Bacteria
- U.S. Consumer Confidence at Strongest Since 2007