HomeNewsThe downside of health apps: where developers are doctors

The downside of health apps: where developers are doctors

In future, mobile health apps will help patients get treatment, and mistakes will naturally attract lawsuits for developers, with financial consequences for developers as well.

Smartphone owners these days have to shell out small sums of money to download health apps on their mobiles and get numerous pages of useful health literature. Even if the mobile phone is out of coverage area, the user still gets necessary first aid information.

Therefore, users get the feeling that they know how to deal with seizures, strokes, burns and other emergencies, and they tend to be complacent.

Needless to say, smartphones are penetrating our lives at a deep level, and since it is happening gradually, we hardly notice.

Apps are a new fad, and health care apps are even more so. Such applications cover a wide range and include calorie counters; exercise monitors; and those that help people overcome addictions. For example, people who don’t want to smoke, but can’t kick the butt, can always consult their mobiles for tips!

There is no doubt that mobile health apps work at the basic level, but some newer applications are likely to remove this deficiency in future by allowing users to connect with their doctors, for instance. Once the online health records are added to the mix, we have a whole new world of mobile health apps.

Mobile health apps will, for example, tell a diabetic mobile user looking for insulin where the closest pharmacy is. Virtual doctors can also tell users to watch their cholesterol when they are at a restaurant. These features are provided to users with the help of location based services.

There are already several apps in the market intended to help doctors, but mobile health apps will completely change the health care scene by making it easier for patients to connect with doctors.

For example, these apps will allow patients to send pictures to their doctors. Visits to the doctor’s clinic are expensive, and these apps could reduce such expenses.

With increased use of technology, the chances of mistakes also increase, and we don’t know right now who will be held responsible for errors.

There have been lawsuits against doctors in the past and now mobile health developers also stand the risk of being sued. Since the apps would be used for serious diseases and medical emergencies also, the chances of risk for patients will be very high. There is currently something in place that will protect app developers: these are disclaimers or user agreements that come up before the app is installed, and that people don’t usually read. So, for the time being, users would do well to take good care of themselves, and not depend blindly on their mobile health app.

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