“But Doctor Connor, my phone says I’m dying!”
With a vast amount of tech at their fingertips, both doctors and patients alike are armed with endless information. Most of the time, that is a good thing – but in some instances, managing all that data is risky. With apps for the patient and doctor side, wearables such as the Fitbit, and nutrition-tracking websites, doctors can leave themselves open to malpractice claims and even HIPAA violations if patient information gets compromised. Keeping your patients and practice safe and secure will help minimize risk.
Recently, the FDA
issued a review process distinguishing medical devices from consumer goods. Differentiating a medical device from an app on an Android or Apple phone or tablet safeguards both the patient and care provider. FDA-regulated medical devices prioritize patient safety and public health, where a consumer app may be run by a private company with little to no regulation, monitoring, or support.
Onboarding a healthcare app for your practice can be daunting. If you are supported by a larger organization such as a hospital, then let them do the heavy lifting. Trying to do this alone is risky, and it’s best not to leave yourself open to a malpractice case because of lack of due diligence. Implementing technology with patients can be tricky, too. Make sure you disclose the data that they will be sharing with you, show them how to use the app, and of course, implement it.
While medical apps for patients can pose malpractice risks, when used correctly they can be helpful. Nothing beats in-person patient care, but you can’t be everywhere all the time. Procuring an app to compliment your practice shouldn’t be taken lightly though; follow FDA guidelines, and get support from your IT team.
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The opinions expressed here by AmVenture.com columnists are their own, not those of AmVenture.com.