FDA: Embracing Mobile Devices

By Bob Larrivee posted 07-20-2011 16:32


I recently ran across a post on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) website titled “FDA Proposes Health APP Guidelines”. The fact that the FDA has taken a proactive approach in this area is a sign of progress in the health care sector’s efforts to move into a more flexible and digital state. It is also a sign that the FDA wants to ensure these apps are beneficial and not harmful for consumers and health care providers.

The countless number of apps available today for smartphones and tablet PCs is growing at an astounding rate. If you can think of it, there is probably and app for it; if not, give it a few minutes and there will be. Health care apps can be very beneficial in providing consumers with information about new treatments, medications and their side effects, and more. For health care providers, they capture and deliver vital functionality and information used in diagnostics like smartphone based ultrasound and the ability to view medical images and X-rays using tablet PCs. Imagine if you were experiencing chest pains while on a train or plane and a Doctor or health care professional who comes to your aid pulls out a smartphone with an electrocardiography (ECG) app to monitor and record your heartbeat. Take it a step further. That same person can now upload it to the emergency team and facility where you will be treated.

The other item that caught my attention is the fact the FDA is not doing this in a vacuum. They are seeking input from consumers, health care providers and anyone who feels they have insights or ideas on this topic. If you would like to review and provide input on the FDA’s proposal, you can visit or write to them at the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

In my view, this is an exemplary move on the part of the FDA. Here we have an organization ready to embrace the future, in this case the use of mobile devices, in a way that will protect and benefit consumers and enable health care providers to be more responsive to their patients’ needs. I say bravo and look for other organizations in both the public and private sectors to follow their lead.     

If as an organization, you are ready to move forward or are struggling with use of mobile devices and are not sure where to begin or what to do next, seek professional assistance and/or training to get you started.

What say you? Do you have a story to tell? What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you have a topic of interest you would like discussed in this forum? Let me know.


Bob Larrivee, Director and Industry Advisor – AIIM

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Look for my session at NIRMA 2011 in Las Vegas this August and on Mobile Devices in the upcoming AIIM sbcon11 event this September.


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