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Caution urged as smartphone apps expand into medicine

The Inquirer, April 21, 2011

Apple iTunes reported that 10,000 medical, health-care, and fitness applications were available for download. That's just the consumer market; there are already many examples of wireless technology used by doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. The benefits are many, but there are questions as well. "So many different health apps pop up," said Joseph Kim, a doctor of internal medicine whose bachelor's degree is in mechanical engineering. "How do you as a consumer, or as a physician, know which ones are reliable or which are accurate? Unfortunately, the technology is moving faster than any regulatory body can keep up," said Kim, a vice president at Medical Communications Media Inc. in Newtown Township and a specialist in the use of technology in medicine. "Releasing an app is very easy," he said, but if it is developed abroad, the standards may be different than they are in the United States. For example, a recommended drug may be approved elsewhere but not in this country.

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