Government Regulation and Medical Apps: An Interview with Jonathan Kohl


As the article stated, mobility to the medical industry is like ATMs to the banking industry. Just imagine how we are able to be productive with mobility apps and services when we travel or are merely away from our desks, and imagine what that could do for your doctor. One of my doctors uses a MacBook Pro during her consults and is very tech savvy. She loves the idea of mobile devices in the medical profession, because she'd like to get the benefits of technology she enjoys at home in her office. Last time I was in to see her, she left the room to get a second opinion. She rushed back in and said: "Don't look this up on your iPhone while I'm gone!" She didn't want me to read something on the internet and get all freaked out while she had stepped out. I have more access to information in that case than she does, but the information I have access to is often wrong or suspect, or not applicable without an expert eye. We laughed about it; her husband is also in the software industry, so she understands. Imagine if she used mobility technology to get a second opinion with me as an active participant. Or to take it further, imagine using mobility to get expert oversight or participation during important surgery. The foremost expert in the world on this surgery is attending and directing without having to travel and be there with me as I get the surgery. Amazing. Some of my colleagues are developing this kind of software today, as I write this.

The flipside of this are the inevitable apps that promote quackery and junk science, and governments want to crack down on things like that. They don't want people to get apps that cause harm to themselves or others, so they are trying to manage this. One change we might see in the mobile apps space is more oversight for store submission related to health applications for the mass market.

However, the exciting thing is that we will see more medical apps and systems taking advantage of mobile technology. With the power of mobility, we should see better service for people who require health services, which at some point or another is all of us.

Finally, since I don’t have a medical background, I'd like to thank my friend and software colleague Jaret Hargreaves, (MSc. Biomedical Engineering), for his review and clarifications of my answers.


Read more in the continuation of this interview: Testing Mobile Medical Apps: An Interview with Johnathan Kohl.

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