The next time you go to your doctor or dentist’s office, pay attention to the mobile device they are using. I know the last time I went to my doctor’s office, the nurse had a portable device in which she was recording my blood pressure, weight, and my reasons for seeing the doctor. I didn’t give it much thought until after I left and the examination was complete.
Before I proceed with my opinion, I would like to state that I believe we should have the least amount of intrusion by the government as possible. However, there are certain things, especially when it comes to our health, that need to be controlled and regulated by some type of governing authority. The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has the responsibility to monitor the food that we eat and the prescription drugs that we take.
So why do mobile devices and their applications that are designed for health care professionals even need regulating? First of all, these applications need to be accurate in their record keeping abilities. The applications and the way the information is shared with other health care providers, or third parties, needs to be controlled. Our privacy needs to be protected by those who may use the data or personal information for other than its intended purpose.
Today it may seem like a non-issue when only vital statistics are saved onto the mobile device. In the future, one can see that more and more information will be stored as the applications improve. Security comes into question as to how safe our information will be from prying eyes. I would also be concerned as to how the insurance companies in the future could use this data to discriminate against those applying for health insurance.
I believe that the FDA must place requirements on application developers, not as to how their software functions, but on how this information will be stored and used. Can the application developers meet a simple security requirement to keep our data safe? In addition to safeguards to protect our data, we also need to protect a patient’s ID from being used by those who could use another’s insurance to pay for their own operations or medication.