This is an interesting story here from a doctor who works in an ER and is right on top of all of this. The big issue here is questioning the accuracy of the readings for the first issue with the app. We all know how we need the blood pressure cuff to get an accurate reading and there are numerous types of home units you can buy versus this app on the phones.
With this app you place the unit on your chest. This is interesting as it was just in the last couple of days that we had the FTC question and fine a couple of apps that are used to detect potential skin cancer with moles too. Perhaps the most profound statement in this entire article is this:
“Blood pressure management is not for “recreational purposes”. This is not entertainment. This is real life.”….Iltifat Husain, MD
The doctor is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief of iMedicalApps.com. Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Director of Mobile App curriculum at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. His credentials speak for themselves.
In addition, Vanderbilt and Johns Hopkins have also commented on their concern about the apps that continue to remain. In the world of apps today, it’s interesting and and actually good that both the FDA and the FTC seem to be paying closer attention to what’s going on out there to ensure we get “real” information. BD
For $4.99, the app promises to measure your blood pressure by using your iPhone’s microphone and LED light. You place the iPhone on your chest and it “measures” your blood pressure. Obviously — no physician or health care professional would recommend that you measure your blood pressure in this non-validated method.
Instant Blood Pressure has now become a top 5 downloaded app in the Health section of the App Store — and is being used by tens of thousands of people to measure their blood pressure.
Wired Magazine picked up on the story, did the developers even bother to put a disclaimer within the app. The developers were also initially implying that Johns Hopkins was supporting their claims in their App description, but were forced to remove the institutions name after Johns Hopkins found out their name was being used in an inappropriate manner.
The developers initially asked me not to publicize the app at all, and refused to show data or any type of study that backed up their claims, stating they were creating proprietary algorithms. They kept mentioning they would “soon release data” that showed how the app worked, but more than eight months later they still haven’t released any studies or proof showing how the app works.
Instant Blood pressure has become so popular that it has spawned a number of spin offs.
Even a recent publication in the American Society of Hypertension takes aim at these apps, raising alarm at how often they are being used by patients.
The iMedicalApps team of physicians implores Apple and Google to remove these apps from the App Store. There is sufficient proof in the comments section alone that patients are using these apps not for recreational purposes, but as medical devices, having the potential to lead to disastrous health consequences. Apple and Google shouldn’t allow developers to hide behind veiled disclaimers that try to prevent FDA regulation and liability if someone were to die. If an app even has the potential to be used as a medical device using sensors on a phone, it should be regulated in the appropriate manner.
I find it fascinating that the Instant Blood Pressure app doesn’t let you store your blood pressure numbers. Clearly they don’t want you exporting or tracking your measurements if you have a poor health outcome.