A lot of health apps are just plain bogus. They’re being called “quack apps” by health professionals.
The problem is, health apps are some of the most popular downloads – in fact, over 247-million people downloaded at least one health app just last year.
And more than half of all smartphone users have turned to their phone to find answers to medical questions - instead of seeing a doctor. But trusting your health to an app could be dangerous.
For example, there’s an app that says it can treat Seasonal Affective Disorder by using a light emitted from your phone. That’s totally bogus. There’s another app that says it can emit sounds from your phone to relieve headaches, toothaches, and muscle pain. It’s totally bogus too.
There are other apps that are less flashy – but still dangerous. That’s because they give information on common conditions like cancer and diabetes – but they aren’t created by physicians – or even based on research.
So how can you tell if a health app is a “quack app?” Here are some guidelines:
Obviously, beware of apps that promise quick and easy results.
Generally speaking you can trust apps from well-known health organizations. They’re the most likely to have solid medical research. A rule of thumb is – if the app doesn’t have a well-researched website to back it up, it’s probably a “quack app.”
You can also check out IMedicalApps.com. It’s run by physicians, who review medical apps and suggest the best ones.
So which health apps can you trust according to iMedicalApps? Here are a few:
First Aid by The American Red Cross. It has videos and step-by-step instructions for first aid – and it’s free.
Another good one is Health Tap – check it out at HealthTap.com. It’s also free and provides answers and tips from 36-thousand U.S. doctors.
Lastly, try iTriage – from ITriageHealth.com. It’s also free. It was created by ER doctors to evaluate your symptoms, and help you find a medical facility.
And the only skin check app recommended by doctors is UM Skin Check. It gets a thumbs up from dermatologists because it doesn’t diagnose your skin issues. Instead, it helps you track changes – so you can show your doctor.