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Video: The High Rating Of Mobile Health Apps Does Not Mean Their Quality
2023 Author: Abraham Higgins | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-30 04:59
The high rating of mobile health apps does not mean their quality
People often trust user reviews when shopping online. This tactic is completely unsuitable for medical applications. Using mobile apps that have not been independently verified can be harmful to your health.
/ FOTODOM /
After checking 250 user reviews and comments of the once popular but, as it turned out, flawed mobile app that promises to turn your smartphone into a blood pressure monitor, scientists from Johns Hopkins University showed once again that the high "star rating" of the application is not necessarily means its medical value.
The analysis showed that even warnings about not relying on the data from this app for medical purposes failed to sufficiently convince users and did not stop health professionals from recommending these apps. This app, called Instant Blood Pressure by AuraLife, was withdrawn from the market in July 2015.
“People tend to rely on user reviews when shopping online to determine which products to buy, but this is appropriate for medical applications,” said study author Timothy Plante, formerly at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and now an assistant professor of medicine. at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont.
“There are certain thresholds for accuracy that need to be met, and a five-star rating is not a substitute for clinical research,” says Timothy Plant.
The researchers say unregulated use of mobile health apps can give people a false sense of security, which could lead to dire health consequences.
In a report on this study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, physicians urge healthcare professionals to be more skeptical about applications that have not been supported by medical research. They also warn users that even if an app has been recommended by some healthcare professional, it doesn't mean it actually works.
The results show that four out of five people with high blood pressure who used the supplement received false and calming information.
For the new study, researchers analyzed 261 reviews and user ratings taken from the Apple iTunes online store before the app was withdrawn from sales (no reasons for the recall were reported on the site).
The average rating for the latest version of the app was four out of five stars, and 59 percent of users gave the app a five-star rating. 42% of comments praised the accuracy of this application and only 10% noted its inaccuracy.
Although the app contained a disclaimer (like many mobile apps), mentioning that it should not be used as a medical device, but purely for "entertainment", nevertheless, 24 reviews (10%) said that people use it specifically for medical purposes.
“Research data has shown that even warning and disclaimer is not a solution. Consumers will continue to use such devices to obtain information about their health status. It can be dangerous if you rely on the app instead of consulting a doctor,”says study co-author Seth Martin.
Instant Blood Pressure sold for $ 4.99 on iTunes and was downloaded 140,000 times before being discontinued. However, many medical applications are still available to consumers, and some are downloaded a million times over.
The study authors recommend using only home blood pressure monitors that are peer reviewed for accuracy.