Are Medical Media Apps Really about Health?

First Posted: Oct 31, 2013 04:09 PM EDT

These days, everyone is actively on their smartphones and tablets checking the news, calling family, etc. With all the gadgets and gizmos, a new report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare informatics shows that despite all the applications that often come with these devices, many health officials found that medical ones have little if nothing to do with health.

According to Med City, the iTunes Store classifies many applications in the health category when they clearly don't belong.

Of the 43,689 applications studied via the app store, results showed that only about 20,007 were either not health apps or were very loosely affiliated with the term. The list from the report "Patient Apps for Improved Healthcare from Novelty to Mainstream" includes the following, courtesy of Med City:

  • Fashion and beauty (e.g. salons);
  • Apps intended for members of specific clubs/universities;
  • Veterinary apps;
  • Apps which use gimmicks with no real health benefit (for example, apps which make the user sound sick, or demonstrate how the user would look if they were obese);
  • Apps related to health issues but which do not focus on health (such as fertility)
  • Product presentation apps for use by sales reps/retailers
  • Apps believed to have meaningless claims, such as: "gives you a beautiful way to keep track of your body's biorhythms."

The report notes that older patients who dealt with multiple medical problems stated, via the report, that the applications don't "necessarily benefit from apps that are narrowly focused on one disease area, and instead it would be optimal for these patients to be supported in taking their multiple medications that the physician has prescribed."

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