Science

Apple iPhone Health Apps Could Be More Dangerous Than Helpful

By Mandy Adams , Dec 22, 2016 10:23 AM EST
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Apple iPhone health apps may not be as useful as most people think. A new study conducted by the University of Michigan suggests that top-rated health apps for Apple iPhone and Google's mobile software perform poorly based on the evaluation made by real doctors.

Dr. Karandeep Singh, the lead researcher, says that the negative correlation between the rating given by the doctor and by the user "is likely due to competing priorities between the two groups." Given the gap between the patients and their physicians, these apps are as good as useless when it comes to upholding an individual's health.

Apple iPhone Health Apps

The study looked into the functionalities of 137 health apps. The apps involved in the study are those that target individuals with alcohol addiction, arthritis, asthma, depression, diabetes, heart issues, kidney disease, liver disease, and lung disease, and tobacco dependence. Apps developed for cancer survivors, stroke patients, dementia and amnesia sufferers were also included in the study.

NBC News reported that the findings revealed that out of all the apps in the sample, only 28 responded appropriately. All the other apps were unable to tell whether the patient should be alarmed or not. Given how inaccurate these apps are, Sarah Blenner, a University of California, Los Angeles health researcher points out that the lack of "sufficient and thorough testing" for the accuracy of these apps can expose users to significant risks.

Future Of Mobile Health Applications

The accuracy of medical apps may be a major cause of concern at the moment but four organizations, namely, the American Medical Association, American Heart Association, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, and DHX Group is in the process of forming a group called Xcertia. Xcertia's mission is to focus on improving the accuracy of Apple iPhone health apps and other medical apps for mobile devices to make sure that they are safe and effective.

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