Trending News Today: mHealth Apps Continue to Grow

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

Between 2013 and 2015, the amount of health and fitness apps that became available on the iPhone increased by 106%, reported the Los Angeles Times. Although experts hope these medical apps will encourage individuals to pay more attention to their health, the regulation of these apps can at times lag behind the pace of innovation, which could harm consumers. According to federal regulators, certain apps, such as the measuring of blood glucose levels of EKGs, must be approved by the FDA before hitting the market. However, some doctors express concern in people using these apps for medical guidance, even if they are considered low-risk apps.

A new program announced yesterday seeks to change the way physicians get paid and provide care for patients. According to NPR, the Obama administration is recruiting as many as 20,000 primary care doctors for the program, which will be run by the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The project will consist of 2 separate payment tracks with varying monthly payments to doctors. The goal is for doctors to use payments that aren’t tied to specific services to instead develop different ways to provide patient care.

Since the French Polynesia Zika outbreak in 2013 and 2014, doctors have seen the association between Zika and Guillain-Barre syndrome. However, USA Today reported findings of a link between Zika and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), a condition similar to multiple sclerosis. ADEM involves swelling of the brain and spinal cord that affects the coating around the nerve fibers, myelin. The study will be presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Vancouver.