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

DeepMind’s cofounder: Generative AI is just a phase. What’s next is interactive AI.

“This is a profound moment in the history of technology,” says Mustafa Suleyman.

What to know about this autumn’s covid vaccines

New variants will pose a challenge, but early signs suggest the shots will still boost antibody responses.

Human-plus-AI solutions mitigate security threats

With the right human oversight, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence can help keep business and customer data secure

Next slide, please: A brief history of the corporate presentation

From million-dollar slide shows to Steve Jobs’s introduction of the iPhone, a bit of show business never hurt plain old business.

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.