The App Will See You Now: Mobile Health, Diagnosis, and the Practice of Medicine in Quebec and Ontario

Journal of Law and the Biosciences, Forthcoming

32 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2018

See all articles by Michael Lang

Michael Lang

McGill University - Faculty of Law

Ma'n H. Zawati

McGill University - Centre of Genomics and Policy

Date Written: March 15, 2018

Abstract

Mobile health applications are increasingly being used as tools of medicine. Outside of the clinic, some of these applications may contribute to diagnoses made absent a physician's care. We argue that this contravenes reservations of diagnosis to healthcare professionals in the law of two Canadian provinces: Quebec and Ontario. On the one hand, the law conceives of diagnosis in relatively broad terms. Drawing an association between symptoms and illness, for example, has been recognized in case law as sufficient. On the other hand, provincial law reserves diagnosis to physicians and other healthcare professionals.

We argue that a number of health applications are capable of drawing associations between symptoms and disease and, in doing so, of delivering diagnoses in contravention of the law of Quebec and Ontario. This places mobile health applications in a poorly understood legal space. While prosecution is unlikely, the increasing ubiquity and technological sophistication of health applications promises to make such diagnosis widespread. We suggest that the legal status of such mobile health apps should be given serious attention. While our analysis focuses on the state of the law in Canada's largest provinces, we suggest that our argument will have implications in other jurisdictions.

Keywords: App, Mobile Health, Diagnosis, Practice of Medicine, Quebec, Ontario

Suggested Citation

Lang, Michael and Zawati, Ma'n H., The App Will See You Now: Mobile Health, Diagnosis, and the Practice of Medicine in Quebec and Ontario (March 15, 2018). Journal of Law and the Biosciences, Forthcoming , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3152476

Michael Lang

McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal H3A 1W9, Quebec
Canada

Ma'n H. Zawati (Contact Author)

McGill University - Centre of Genomics and Policy ( email )

740 Dr. Penfield Avenue, Suite 5200
Montreal, Quebec H3A 0G1
Canada

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