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Clinical software on personal mobile devices needs regulation

Juanita I E Fernando
Med J Aust 2012; 196 (7): 437. || doi: 10.5694/mja11.11390
Published online: 16 April 2012

Juanita Fernando says clinicians need some legal certainty around phone and tablet use

The regulation of clinical software for personal mobile devices (PMDs) has increased in relevance for physician practice.1 The plausible benefits of using software such as iStethoscope, Flipboard, Skype or MedCalc on smartphones and tablets include up-to-date access to health data, support for distributed health care and improved quality of interactions with patients. Recent World Health Organization survey findings confirm that use of PMDs by clinicians offers tangible patient care benefits including the integration of mobile health into existing services regardless of geography, connection to an electrical grid and income level. And yet, the legal vacuum in guidelines governing smartphone and tablet use is a key implementation barrier in upper-middle income regions such as Europe (reported by 56% of countries) and the Americas (50%).2 Increasingly, governments overseas are at least thinking about, if not acting upon, this challenge — but Australian governments remain silent.

  • Juanita I E Fernando1,2

  • 1 Faculty of Information Technology and Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Australian Privacy Foundation, Canberra, ACT.


Competing interests:

My son is a project leader with Accenture, the lead contractor for IT infrastructure on the Australian National E-Health Transition Authority Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record project.

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