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Apps in Rheumatology: Ready for Prime Time?

February 8 2015 7:49 AM ET via RheumReports RheumReports

In this workshop at CRA 2015, Dr. Majed Khraishi discussed many of the issues surrounding the use of technology, particularly Apps, in rheumatology. There are 1000s of currently available “Health and Wellness” Apps, with new ones being developed daily. In January 2015, the FDA published a position statement that basically states that if the developers don't explicitly claim that the software/application is for diagnosis or treatment, then it is not relevant to the FDA. This leaves confidentiality and data security up to the health care professional.

The regular use of technology has many complicated issues. Software needs to be specific to the user's needs. Training and maintenance are required, particularly with updating of underlying operating systems. Ideal software/apps will communicate directly with EMRs, which is challenging as there are so many different EMRs. Patient data and security is legal and imperative. Cloud storage can be compromised. Local data storage is safer, but needs to be locked, password protected and regularly backed up. All data entered should be as anonymous as possible.

Despite all the potential issues with the use of new applications, there is a huge opportunity. We have the potential to use these technologies to screen patients, collect data on outcome measures in between office appointments, communicate with patients and other health care professionals, improve adherence, etc. In the coming years, we are sure to see ongoing development in this area.


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About the Author

Dr. Shahin Jamal
Dr. Shahin Jamal

Dr. Jamal is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia and an active staff physician at Vancouver Coastal Health. Her interests include diagnosis and prognosis of early inflammatory arthritis, and timely assessment and access to care for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

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