Mobile health apps prompt questions about privacy

See on Scoop.ithealthcare technology

The FDA is working on guidance for developers about how to ensure patient safety.


As smartphone users have grown more comfortable forking over information about their bank accounts and physical whereabouts to mobile applications, a growing group of app developers are betting health-related data will be next.


Consider Bethesda-based M3 Information. The company has created an app that asks patients a series of nearly 30 questions designed to assess whether they exhibit symptoms of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder.


But the app, known as WhatsMyM3, stops short of a definitive diagnosis. Instead, it issues a score that suggests the patient may be at an elevated risk and recommends they discuss the results with a primary care physician.


In some ways, the app is indicative of the broader mobile health market. Applications are being built to assist physicians at a patient’s bedside or help remotely monitor chronic conditions, but remain somewhat limited by concerns about their ability to ensure patient safety and privacy.

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