Researchers at the University of Bath say regulation is needed of smartphone ‘apps’ that claim to help people manage pain, after 85 per cent were found to be created without input from a medical professional.
There are nearly 6,000 smartphone downloadable applications (‘apps’) for health-related issues but there is currently no regulatory body evaluating and approving their release making them potentially misleading to the consumer.
The researchers at the University’s Centre for Pain Research reviewed the commercial descriptions of apps targeting the broad health issue of pain, selecting those aimed at consumers rather than healthcare professionals.
They looked at 111 apps from the official application stores for five major smartphone platforms: iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Nokia/Symbian, and Windows Mobile. Download costs varied, although the majority were priced around £1.19.
Of the apps reviewed, 85.6 per cent reported no involvement from a healthcare professional, either directly as the app creator or indirectly as a source of information or evaluation of app content.
Of the specified pain types, headache and migraine were the most commonly targeted, with back pain the second most frequently reported while a few focused on chronic pain and specific long-term health conditions.
“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” Buddha[/color][/i]