A content analysis of smartphone-based applications for hypertension management
Mobile health, or m-health technologies, can help treat the symptoms of hypertension (HTN), especially blood pressure (BP). However, the content of hypertension (HTN) smartphone-based apps are unknown. 107 apps from the Google Play and the Apple App store were analyzed.
They typed in "hypertension" and "high blood pressure" into the Google Play and the Apple App store and picked the top 50 apps from each. This gave them 200 apps total, and 107 unique apps. They recorded the average rating, number of ratings, and number of downloads per app. Then they analyzed the functional characteristics of each app, such as hypertension education, tracking function, medication adherence tools, whether the app can make the smartphone a blood pressure reader or heart rate monitor, and access to support forums of people with hypertension.
Interesting to me results
Most of the apps targeted patients (95.3%) and were tracking devices (71.9%). 69.1% could track blood pressure, and 61.7% could track heart rate. 66.3% had analytical tools that could tell you about trends in blood pressure and heart rate, like text-based feedback tools that would tell you if your blood pressure were too high. 43.9% could export information from the app to an excel file and send it to your email.
14% of the Android apps (7 of them) could turn your phone into a blood pressure or heart rate monitor. It was cuffless, and all you had to do was press your finger against the screen. None had a documentation of gold-standard validation and none were approved as measuring devices by the FDA.
Over 90% of apps are targeted towards patients. Almost 3/4 of hypertension apps can record and track blood pressure and/or heart rate. Almost one half can export data out from the app.
I think it's great that there are so many apps targeted towards patients with hypertension, and a lot of those apps have fundamental functionalities such as blood pressure and heart rate tracking, and a significant number of apps also have analytical tools to help the patient know if their blood pressure is too high or something of that nature. The FDA is increasingly regulating such apps, and it will be interesting to see how it affects the marketplace of these apps.