Consumer Health Apps of Interest
Throughout the year, as Consumer Health Coordinator, I gather information from a variety of resources to keep abreast of interesting happenings in the field of consumer health. In this gathering of information, I’ve found one of the most interesting aspects of consumer health is the explosion of health apps for health-conscious consumers.
According to the Health Care Blog, there are about 9000 consumer health apps in the iTunes store that offer an astonishing array of creative tools that help consumers take control of their health and health care. These include apps that calculate calories burned during exercise, create soundtracks to help people fall asleep, and display pictures that can elicit memories from Alzheimer’s patients. If the store doesn’t offer something for what ails you now, it probably will soon. The selections will proliferate within the next year, with an additional 4,000 consumer apps expected by next summer, industry experts say.
The blog post also points to the problems this can create, as consumers have trouble finding what is available and evaluating information for scientific validity. The government is starting to regulate these apps and recently the Federal Trade Commission brought its first cases against the makers of two health apps who claimed to cure acne with colored lights emitted from cell phones.
Just as health sciences librarians help consumers and health professionals to evaluate health websites, we can assist in the evaluation of health apps. To that end, here are five selected apps that are potentially of value to the health consumer:
What’s your favorite consumer health app?
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