MMA: No Longer Just An Acronym for Mixed Martial Arts, Mobile Medical Apps May Own That Sooner Rather Than Later

Mobile device software (apps) that give nursing home doctors access to drug reference databases help prevent serious and potentially life-threatening medication errors. That was one of the findings of a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Director’s Association (JAMDA), which also found that use of the drug reference apps was fairly routine for the physicians with access to them.

The researchers found that nursing home physicians who used drug reference apps were more aware and less likely to give medications in combination with others that should not be used together. The researchers from the University of Pittsburgh surveyed 800 doctors at the 2010 American Medical Directors Association annual symposium. At that time about 560 used a mobile device with drug reference apps. Notably, most felt as though adverse events were prevented by having drug information at their fingertips.

The Pittsburgh researchers acknowledge limitations with their research including the fact that their findings were based on doctors’ beliefs. While the precise effect on medication errors could not be determined from this study, it certainly should raise the prospect for medical facilities of all types that easy access to mobile devices and apps could benefit patient safety and satisfaction.

The emergence of MMAs carries with it both regulatory and litigation-related consequences. On September 30, we discussed the new FDA Guidelines for MMAs, which start to clarify what, when and how MMAs will be regulated, click here.  On October 23, in a free webinar hosted by MEDMARC, Goldberg Segalla partners Michael Shalhoub and Joseph Welter will be addressing these new regulations and discussing possible product liability litigation consequences related to MMAs. To register, click here.  We will also continue to follow and share developments in what we expect to be a rapidly evolving area of law.  Stay tuned.

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