Skip to Content

Making Health-Tracking Gadgets May Be Getting a Lot Easier

September 27, 2017

The Food and Drug Administration is finally getting with the program. Bloomberg reports that the federal agency is to launch a trial with tech firms, including Apple, Fitbit, and Verily, to test out pre-certification of health devices. The move would in theory make it easier for such firms to launch new gadgets that could be used to diagnose, monitor, or potentially even manage health conditions. From Bloomberg:

Under the pilot, the FDA will scrutinize digital health companies’ software and will inspect their facilities to ensure they meet quality standards and can adequately track their products once they’re on the market. If they pass the agency’s audits, the companies would be pre-certified and may face a less stringent approval process or not have to go through FDA approval at all.

Gadget makers are fully aware of how powerful wearables could be in health care. Google spinoff Verily is using its own smartwatches to gather huge quantities of data in several new studies. Research has shown that smartwatches could help diagnose heart problems. And Apple even has a secretive gym in which to test its activity monitoring devices.

But while the likes of Apple have long expressed interest in pursuing product development in the area, they’ve also found that the FDA's red tape gets in the way, making the whole process cripplingly slow. The new program may allow them to push gadgets out to the public a little faster.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Geoffrey Hinton tells us why he’s now scared of the tech he helped build

“I have suddenly switched my views on whether these things are going to be more intelligent than us.”

ChatGPT is going to change education, not destroy it

The narrative around cheating students doesn’t tell the whole story. Meet the teachers who think generative AI could actually make learning better.

Meet the people who use Notion to plan their whole lives

The workplace tool’s appeal extends far beyond organizing work projects. Many users find it’s just as useful for managing their free time.

Learning to code isn’t enough

Historically, learn-to-code efforts have provided opportunities for the few, but new efforts are aiming to be inclusive.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.