Mobile Healthcare Apps Are Creating Chaos and Opportunity

August 24, 2015 - 2 minutes read

With an explosion of mobile healthcare apps hitting the software market, doctors and industry insiders are wondering how to vet and regulate them. As Dr. Douglas Mogul, a pediatrician at Johns Hopkins says, “People should have full disclosure over what the app can do. If it’s going to make a claim about health, that claim should be supported.” Mogul has created apps of his own, and is in a unique position to make observations about the mobile healthcare app industry from the point of view of an active health practitioner.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration provides thorough and careful oversight of medical devices, products and drugs, but thus far, healthcare apps have not been subjected to a level of scrutiny that’s anywhere close. While the FDA does maintain some authority over healthcare apps, it is limited to software products that claim to replicate the functionality of a device that the agency already regulates.

One area in which Mogul believes healthcare software developers are falling short is in the realm of testing their actual effectiveness. Mogul believes that any app that claims to offer information or generate insights about a specific aspect of a patient’s health must be rigorously tested to ensure such claims are backed by empirical evidence.

The rise of mhealth app developer products has proven to be a major disruption to many healthcare conventions. They are changing the ways doctors and patients communicate, and providing patients with more tools to take better charge of their own health. However, right now, the industry is a veritable “Wild West,” as developers continue to flood the market with products – not all of which perform as advertised.

Chicago iPhone app developers and software professionals engaged in medical application development can take advantage of the incredible opportunities offered by this rapidly growing sector. One key way in which developers can earn the trust of consumers is to subject their software to extensive tests to make sure it gains the confidence of doctors once it goes to market.

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