Will Smartphone Apps Revolutionize Medicine?


No–the government seems determined to stop it.

The Bloomberg article below describes a brave new world in which consumers can monitor their health through smartphone apps, share the information with their doctors, and also communicate with their doctors without an appointment, especially in emergencies. The article however fails to mention that Medicare and some private insurers won’t pay a doctor for time spent on e-mail, texting, and the like. Medicare not only wants you to go to the doctor’s office. It won’t even pay for treatment of more than one complaint per visit. If you have two problems, you are supposed to make another appointment and come back. The article does refer to the FDA’s plan to regulate the field, which it seems to regard positively. It does not explain that the cost of FDA approval will kill app innovation and availability.

Why is this happening? Because the FDA wants to be paid. Big drug companies contribute billions to FDA salaries and expenses, in addition to offering high paying jobs when employees leave government employment. Neither the government, nor key allies such as the American Medical Association, which enjoys a lucrative government granted monopoly in medical coding, have an incentive to change the way medicine is practiced. On the contrary, they keep us stuck where we are.

Click here for the article.