A tale of two chessboards

Things happen ever faster on the second half of the chessboard. No sooner had the ink dried on our predictions for 2015, and Dr Eric Topol told the story of the first patient to call him with a smartphone diagnosis than Alivecor announced that they now have CE certification for their AF-diagnosing app.

Mind you, whilst Dr Topol might welcome this, it seems that others are still on a different chessboard: under the heading “Doctors fear that new health tech is turning UK into a nation of “worried well””, a recent survey of UK doctors showed that “Seven out of ten (76%) GPs said they had noticed a marked increase in number of patients “self-diagnosing” from the internet over the past twelve months” suggesting, in the words of 1066 & all that, that technology is a Bad Thing. What, this reviewer wonders, will be the reaction to (more…)

2015: a few predictions (UK-biased)

As intimated in our review of last year’s predictions, we feel little need to change course significantly, however some are now done & dusted, whereas others have a way to go. The latter include a concern about doctors, especially those in hospitals, continuing to use high-risk uncertified apps where the chance of injury or death of a patient is high if there is an error in them. Uncertified dosage calculators are considered particularly concerning.

Of necessity this is an area where clinicians are unwilling to be quoted, and meetings impose Chatham House rules. Suffice to say therefore that the point has now been well taken, and the MHRA are well aware of general concerns. Our first prediction therefore is that:

One or more Royal College/College will advise or instruct its members only to use CE-certified or otherwise risk-assessed medical apps.

The challenge here of course is that a restriction to CE-certified apps-only would be a disaster as many, if not most, apps used by clinicians do not meet the definition of a Medical Device and so could not justifiably be CE-certified. And apps are now a major source of efficiencies in hospitals – (more…)