The FDA will start to regulate some smartphone apps that monitor health, officials announced Monday.
The AP reports that there are currently over 17,000 medical apps available for download, but many of these are calorie-counters or exercise apps. The federal regulations will apply only to apps that turn a smartphone into a medical device, like a heart monitor or blood pressure reader.
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Some of these new apps are even replacing doctor’s visits, since users can now check their blood pressure, monitor lung function, and even take pictures of their eardrums with a smartphone. Officials said they have already approved 75 of these apps, and anticipate that over 500 million users will be using smartphone health apps by 2015.