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The Dangers Of Medical Apps

By Rizwan Ahmad - 30 January 2013 No Comments
The number of health apps available for smartphones is staggering, with ever more developers aiming to cash in with the answers to peoples medical questions. Between the app store from Apple, the Android market and even Facebook, there’s no shortage of places for people to search for information. But are these health and medical apps safe for people to use?

The answer depends entirely on the app itself. The ever-popular diet and fitness apps can be considered, for the most part, relatively safe. People keeping workout logs and calorie counting aren't likely to do themselves much harm, apart from maybe overdoing it a little. The real risk comes when people begin to self-diagnose medical conditions.


People using ‘Dr Google’ to try and find out the cause of a particular condition is nothing new, but the transition onto smartphones means increasing numbers of people are turning to technology to self-diagnose. Research suggests that 1 in 4 women have purchased the wrong medication online after trying to diagnose their condition online, all without checking with a pharmacist. The most commonly self-diagnosed conditions include depression, sleeping issues and headaches.

Dangers Of Medical Apps
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Certain apps ask you to put in your symptoms and offer up suggested causes. As you might expect, this falls a long way short of getting a genuine medical diagnosis from a doctor, as there may be additional signs and symptoms that you’re not aware of. Many of these apps come with a lengthy disclaimer, which really says a lot about how much faith you can place in database health diagnosis.

Regulating the Market

The FDA in America is making moves to try to form stricter guidelines for these apps, although given the wide range of apps available their scope is rather limited.

There is a brighter side to these medical apps though. They’re proving useful as a way for doctors to share data with each other, and the calorie counting and fitness apps are helping a lot of people to get in much better shape. Many people swear by apps like Runtracker and MyFitnessPal, and they have been credited with some impressive physical transformations across the online fitness communities.

I guess the general approach is to avoid anything that tries to give you an actual medical diagnosis of your condition. Treat these apps as entertainment, rather than a replacement for professional medical advice, and you should be fine. But, if you’re a worrier, it’s probably best to avoid them altogether as they could cause you no end of stress!

Stuart writes about health, fitness and travel for international healthcare provider AXA PPP International. He has contributed to a number of health and travel related sites.
Rizwan Ahmad
About the Author:
This article is contributed by Stuart and posted by Rizwan Ahmad Author and founder of, He is a tech blogger from India and he loves to share his thoughts by writing articles on this site to the different topics related to technology world,

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