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A look at the "Wild West" of medical apps

In case you missed it yesterday afternoon, NPR had a terrific piece on the proliferation of medical and health apps. As Martha Bebinger reports, these apps - which turn "smartphones and tablets into exercise aids, blood pressure monitors and even devices that transmit an electrocardiogram" - are increasingly being brought to the attention of physicians. And while many such apps undoubtedly help consumers, it's important to remember that they're not regulated by the FDA and don't always do what they promise:

"It's the Wild West and someone needs to come in and at least help the consumers and the clinicians and the payers sort through the forty thousand-plus apps that are already out there," says [Ben Chodor, founder of Happtique, a company that reviews apps and gives those that at least perform correctly a seal of approval].

Previously: NIH releases mobile app to help women identify health risks, maintain a healthy lifestyle, Using a mobile-based app to help manage PTSD, Can a food-tracking app help promote healthy eating habits?, Mobile phone app helps manage diabetes and Turning to an app to help your health

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