to an article published in JAMA Internal Medicine, a blood pressure
smartphone app delivered inaccurate results in a small study. The
findings suggest that more than three quarters of people who use these
apps and who have hypertensive BP levels may be getting false
reassurance that their blood pressure is under control.
app - Instant Blood Pressure (IBP) estimates the individual's blood
pressure by placing the edge of the smartphone on the left side of the
chest and the right index finger over the smartphone's camera. The app
was introduced in June 2014 and was removed in July 2015. During this
time, it was on the top 50 best-selling iPhone apps for 156 days. Nearly
950 copies were sold for $4.99 each on each of these days.
this study, Timothy B. Plante, MD, of the Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine, Baltimore, and coauthors looked at the accuracy and
precision of IBP. The researchers used the app and followed a standard
protocol when using automated sphygmomanometers for standard BP
measurement. 85 participants were included in the study - more than half
of which had self-reported hypertension. 91 percent of the study
participants were on antihypertensive medications. The findings show
that the IBP app underestimated higher blood pressure and overestimated
lower blood pressure.
“Our study has both clinical and
public health relevance. While IBP recently became unavailable for
unclear reasons, it is installed on a vast number of iPhones;
furthermore, several ‘me-too’ apps are still available. Hence, we remain
concerned that individuals may use these apps to assess their BP and
titrate therapy. From a public health perspective, our study supports
partnership of app developers, distributors and regulatory bodies to set
and follow standards for safe, validated mHealth [mobile health]
technologies,” the research letter concludes.
Source: JAMA Internal Medicine
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