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More Specialty-Specific Apps Are Coming On The Market

The explosive growth of medical applications for smartphones, launched by the  debut of the innovative Apple iTunes App store in 2008, promises to fundamentally change the physician’s tool set. While many specialties have always been heavily dependent on technology, such as radiology and cardiology, the ubiquity of these small, interconnected computers means that every physician will soon have access to a broad array of software and hardware to help them perform their daily work.

At iMedicalApps.com, we have been reviewing the most interesting medical apps on the market today as well as watching for trends in mobile medical technology. The most popular categories thus far have been clinical reference and utility apps.  Some of the largest download numbers have been for apps that provide drug and disease reference information, such as the encyclopedic Medscape app, or medical calculators.

However, more targeted apps that are specialty specific are slowly coming on the market. Some early ones, not surprisingly, Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

The New Details About The FDA Regulation Of mHealth Apps

Since the beginning of this year, there have been clues that the FDA will be heading toward clarification of the complex regulatory issues posed by mobile health devices and software. We have previously reported on testimony and public comments by Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the  FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) alluding to coming guidelines.

Today, the FDA finally released a detailed draft guidance of how it intends to regulate this rapidly exploding sector of mobile medical devices and software.

This is what the Emergo group, regulatory compliance consultants, has gleaned from today’s FDA press release: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

Veterans Affairs CIO Says iPads Need To Be Secured For Medical Use

In a nod to the reality of rapid physician adoption of tablets and smartphones, the CIO of the VA system recently stated that the VA must find a way to accommodate  iPads at a  conference on federal information technology.

According to Baker, the fact is that 100,000 residents rotate through the VA each year and “they’re all carrying mobile devices”. In order for them to do their jobs, they want to be able to access resources on the internet.

In an article published at nextgov.com, CIO Roger Baker said:

I’ve told my folks I don’t want to say ‘no’ to those devices anymore…I want to know how I say yes.

The key, according to Baker, is security. While the iPad can be secured, proper protocols need to be developed. Otherwise, the device can be likened to a “huge unencrypted USB stick with no pin”. In order to facilitate development of security protocols, a pilot program has been launched giving out iPads to select employees in situations where security is looser. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

Medical Apps Allow Doctors To Monitor ICU Patients Remotely

We have reported in the past on AirStrip, a smartphone and iPad app that allows a mobile doctor to monitor the vital signs of patients in an obstetric ward or an ICU. The reverse, where a fixed doctor monitors multiple remote patients is now entering the mainstream and already making a difference in many patients’ lives.

In a compelling anecdote recently reported in Computerworld, a man experienced cardiac arrest while shopping and was taken to a nearby community hospital. An intensivist, monitoring from an eICU miles away, was immediately consulted. The remote doctor guided the treating physicians as they initiated unfamiliar hypothermia therapy to preserve the brain, and continued to follow the patient remotely throughout his 10 day ICU stay.  Happily, the patient had a good outcome and is quoted in the article as an enthusiastic proponent of eICUs. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

FDA To Regulate Mobile Medical Software

images.jpegThe regulatory status of medical apps, i.e mobile medical software, has been in limbo for some time now while observers have been watching the FDA for clues as to what role it will play. Clearly, some apps do play a role in guiding physicians in making diagnoses or making treatment decisions. Others simply provide information that would otherwise be available in textbooks or online.

What the FDA will consider a medical device or not has been an important topic, with many clues that it will consider its provenance broadly, as we have reported previously. As of now, only a few medical apps have been granted FDA approval, including AirStrip and MobileMIM.

According to the medical device consulting firm Emergo, the FDA said conclusively that they will be starting regulatory review of medical apps starting in 2011 at the recent FDA townhall meeting on March 10: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

Latest Interviews

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I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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