Apple guidelines could help boost health app quality

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New App Store review guidelines recently rolled out by Apple represent a big step toward eliminating potentially dangerous health and medical apps, according to Wake Forest University School of Medicine Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Iltifat Husain.

Husain, who is also the founder and editor-in-chief of, says in a new post to his site that the guidelines contain "the most stringent language" he can remember Apple using for such apps. Apple’s revised app review is outlined in a new document, App Store Review Guidelines and comes on the heels of a similar federal effort.

As FierceMobileHealthcare reported in early August, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released updated recommendations for mHealth tool makers regarding product modification and draft guidance for software changes. The federal agency’s effort, according to health attorney Brad Thompson of Epstein, Becker and Green, provides some long-overdue clarity and will be very useful for mHealth developers going forward.

"The FDA recently updated guidelines on health apps, but this is definitely a bigger deal as Apple is the gateway for these apps," Husain writes.

He adds that this effort from Apple is "a long time coming."

“There is no way the FDA can regulate the hundreds of thousands of health and medical apps, and the updates made to them," Husain says. "The screening process is what has to change--and it seems like Apple is finally stepping up to the plate to do this."