A recent study published in the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension concluded that eHealth apps intended for hypertension management “urgently need greater regulation and oversight in medical app development.”
During the study researchers analysed a total of 107 apps – 50 from Google Play and 57 from iTunes – using the keywords “hypertension” and “high blood pressure.” Nearly all of the apps were intended for patient use, while 2.8% were designed for physicians and 1.9% were designed for both physicians and patients.
The data collected revealed that the majority of apps developed for hypertension management focus primarily on general health management, such as tracking blood pressure, weight and BMI. However, 14% of the Google Android apps allowed the smartphone to function as a medical device by measuring BP or heart rate.
However, according the study, none of the apps required the use of a blood pressure cuff, as it only required the user to place a finger on the screen or camera of the smartphone, or had any documentation of validation against a gold standard. The report also stated that only 3% of the apps were developed by healthcare agencies such as universities or professional organisations.
The study concluded that “high-quality, adequately powered randomised controlled trials are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of mHealth interventions on clinical outcomes in hypertension.”