Will medical apps deliver on their promise?
Does the idea of using smartphone apps to monitor your medical condition appeal to you or does it start to bother you? Well, no matter how you feel about it, it seems that the use of medical apps is looming right before our eyes.
Medical Apps: Uncovering the Pros and Cons
According to its supporters, medical apps  can help improve a person's condition by providing real-time advice and vital information. While this may be true, there is still a great hurdle that needs to be taken care of – the regulation of the industry. Unlike other apps which can be fixed once a pesky bug decides to manifest itself, medical apps should be able to provide accurate information and ensure safety at all times.
FDA-Approved and FDA-Cleared Medical Apps
Despite the controversy surrounding the use and regulation of medical apps, there are a few that have been cleared and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Some of these are listed below:
This medical app was designed and developed by WellDoc, a company that aims to develop cutting-edge technology solutions to address chronic medical problems. Using a smartphone app, a standard cellphone or an ordinary desktop computer, the device gives useful advice to diabetes patients after collecting a number of relevant information. After proving that it can effectively reduce patients' blood sugar levels, the FDA finally awarded the license for the device to operate as a medical aid.
iBGStar® Blood Glucose Meter
The iBGStar® is the first blood glucose monitor that can be connected to your iPhone or iPod touch. This app aims to help Type I and Type II diabetes patients manage their condition.
MobiUS™ SP1 Ultrasound System
The FDA has also approved the smartphone-based ultrasound system developed by MobiSante. With this portable ultrasound imaging system, healthcare professionals all over the world are expected to be able to bring affordable diagnostic solution to their patients.
AliveCor Heart Monitor
Also in the list of FDA-approved medical apps is AliveCor's Heart Monitor. This particular app works by recording, displaying, storing and analyzing ECG rhythms. The device is expected to go on sale in the US by January 2013.
Some Other Promising Medical Apps
Despite its infancy, the health apps industry currently has more than 40,000 apps available for download. While not all of these may provide accurate results, here are some apps that seem to pass the test.
- NHS Direct. This app provides users with instant advice for virtually every health concern conceivable, including emergency cases. If you like the idea of having a virtual health expert at your beck and call, then this one's for you.
- uHear. Are you worried that you are experiencing the symptoms of potential hearing loss? Use this app to check your condition.
- MyQuitLine. Do you want to quit smoking ? If so, you may want to try this health app.
- iBreastCheck. This app helps women learn how their lifestyles can affect their risk of developing breast cancer.