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Are Health Apps Beneficial to Your Health?

This article originally published on GetHealthyStayHealthy.com

We live in a digital world and health apps are certainly a part of it. Approximately 3.4 billion people use smartphones and tablets worldwide. According to mobile industry estimates, half of them have downloaded a health app. The question is, are health apps beneficial to our health?

Can health apps really help?

There are over 300,000 mobile health apps available, but it’s important to know that the vast majority of them are not reviewed or regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA does not review or monitor health apps unless they are connected to or intended to be used as a medical device. An app that is intended for maintaining or encouraging a healthy lifestyle, (and unrelated to the diagnosis, cure, prevention or treatment of a disease or condition), is not considered a medical device. And, some contend more studies are needed to determine whether health and wellness apps actually help to improve health.

The FDA believes, however, that mobile apps may be beneficial in helping people to improve healthy behaviors, motivating positive changes to boost well-being, and accessing useful health-related information more readily.

What kinds of health apps are available?

There are many different types of health apps available. These include apps related to:

Health apps aren’t meant to take the place of your healthcare provider

While health apps may help you keep track of your health and health-related activities, they are not meant to take the place of your healthcare provider. It’s important to keep up with your in-person healthcare visits. During those visits, share the information from any health apps you use. This can help your healthcare provider work with you to manage your overall health.

How can I find a health app that is right for me?

If you’re thinking about using (or already using) a health app, ask your healthcare provider if he or she has any recommendations.

Other things to consider include:

Talk with your healthcare provider if you have any questions about a health app or need more information.

 

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