ARTICLE: FDA issues final guidance on mobile medical apps

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24 September 2013
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In a press release from September 23, 2013, the FDA announced its “final guidance for developers of mobile medical applications, or apps, which are software programs that run on mobile communication devices and perform the same functions as traditional medical devices. The guidance outlines the FDA’s tailored approach to mobile apps.

From the release:

“Some mobile apps carry minimal risks to consumer or patients, but others can carry significant risks if they do not operate correctly. The FDA’s tailored policy protects patients while encouraging innovation,” said Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
The FDA is focusing its oversight on mobile medical apps that:
  • are intended to be used as an accessory to a regulated medical device – for example, an application that allows a health care professional to make a specific diagnosis by viewing a medical image from a picture archiving and communication system (PACS) on a smartphone or a mobile tablet; or
  • transform a mobile platform into a regulated medical device – for example, an application that turns a smartphone into an electrocardiography (ECG) machine to detect abnormal heart rhythms or determine if a patient is experiencing a heart attack.

The entire text of the guidance (43 pages) can be found on the FDA’s web site.

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