and providers may be customers for app-based versions of existing medical devices. For example, both patients and providers might make use of a blood pressure cuff that plugs into an iPhone. 50 Equally, some consumer-facing wearables, such as Google Glass, have migrated over into provider-facing space. 51 To put it another way, an app that allows a physician to access a hospital’s clinical decision system reflects the steady march of miniaturization, while putting a diagnostic app in the hands of a consumer is potentially disruptive. Although mobile health apps can be roughly categorized by function, at present wearables are relatively undifferentiated. The overwhelming majority are attachments, and occasionally fashion statements, and most of those use the wrist as their attachment point. However, in the near future that picture is likely to change as “wearables” are applied as temporary tattoos, 52 or technology is incorporated into contact lenses. 53 Future generation devices likely will be inserted subcutaneously, or otherwise implanted or ingested, challenging the current nomenclature. In the future, some of our “wearables” may even be neural. 54 Such fragmentation may well lead to more differentiation in their regulation. For now, however, wearables as they are currently understood, can be grouped with mobile health apps and the mobile platforms that frequently control or monitor them. Each type of app poses different safety and privacy risks, 55 and exposure to liability varies depending on the role of the potential defendant. In general terms, healthcare providers may face negligence-based claims when they supply or curate apps that cause harm. 56 In contrast, developers of defective
50. One such example is already available. See, e.g. Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor, WITHINGS, https://www.withings.com/us/en/products/blood-pressure-monitor (last visited March 23, 2016). 51. Nicolas Terry et al., Google Glass and Health Care: Initial Legal and Ethical Questions, 8 J. HEALTH & LIFE SCI. L. 93, 95 (2015). 52. Lydia Ramsey, Stick-On Tattoo Measures Blood Sugar Without Needles, POPULAR SCI. (Jan. 20, 2015), http://www.popsci.com/temporary-tattoos-could-monitor-diabetes-less- invasively (researchers at the University of California San Diego have designed a needle-free blood sugar reading device that uses electrodes on temporary tattoo paper). 53. Quinten Plummer, Google Smart Contact Lens to Hit The Market Soon?, TECH TIMES (June 28, 2016, 3: 38 AM), http://www.techtimes.com/articles/63868/20150628/google-smart- contact-lens-to-hit-the-market-soon.htm. 54. Emotiv is an example of a company producing neural devices. EMOTIV, https://emotiv.com (last visited April 13, 2015, 2: 50 PM). For a discussion of the potential benefits, as well as initial critiques of such devices, see Mark Honigsbaum, Could this $300 Headset Transform the Lives of ‘Locked-In’ Patients?, THE GUARDIAN (July 11, 2014, 6:00 AM), http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jul/11/kickstarter-headset- locked-in-syndrome-communication. 55. See generally Terry, supra note 13, at 1430–33 (discussing the various risks). 56. Nathaniel R. Carroll, Mobile Medical App Regulation: Preventing a Pandemic of “Mobilechondriacs”, 7 ST. LOUIS U.J HEALTH L. & POL’Y 415, 429 (2014).