Are Health Apps Helpful or Harmful?

By MidlevelU Intern and Nursing Student Olivia DeFilippo

Technology today is exciting and it affords all of us (with smartphones, tablets, laptops etc.) unlimited opportunities to learn. Personally, my ultimate goal is to graduate from a nursing program and become an RN. So, instead of checking Facebook or Tweeting I have begun to use technology to become a better student as I work toward my goal of graduation. In the process, I have identified a few favorite health apps. 

These apps can be used by anyone, nursing student or otherwise, to become more self-aware when it comes to wellness. 

iHealth MyVitals is a cool, free mobile app that allows you to measure your weight, BMI, blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse wave. You can also track your steps taken, hours slept, calories burned, food consumed, and distance traveled. The app allows you to set goals and easily share your health data. iHealth offers a few products in conjunction with the iHealth MyVitals app. Available products include a smart glucose monitor, activity and sleep tracker, pulse oximeter, body analysis scale, and blood pressure monitor. 

Similarly, Health Mate is another free app that allows you to monitor blood pressure, log your daily food intake and weight, as well as track your steps. The app also issues reminders for health behaviors like checking blood pressure. Wellness data collected by Health Mate is conveniently illustrated in trends. The Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor, Smart Body Analyzer, and Digital Weighing Scale can be used in conjunction with the Health Mate App. 

In recent news, health and wellness apps have been highlighted for being innovative however some stories have reported them to be inaccurate. One news source reports that the iHealth blood pressure monitor measures blood pressures at about 5mmHg above actual blood pressure while the Withings device consistently measures blood pressures slightly too low. 

Despite the occasionally negative press and slight inaccuracies, health and wellness apps can help monitor health status and even save lives by alerting users to elevated blood pressures which could lead to heart attack or stroke. While these may not be the be all end all to tracking and measuring wellness data, results have proven them overall effective and accurate for self-monitoring health status. 

 

Did you miss Olivia's last story, Drug Information Apps for Nurses?