5 tips for choosing the best mhealth, selftracking app

June 26, 2012

Choosing the health care app that best suits your needs can be quite challenging due to the high number of similar apps on the market. In addition, there is not currently some sort of certified medical organization to review what these services offer to their users. In today’s post, we give you some advice that we hope will help you make your choice.

1)     Set realistic expectations

It is important to have always in mind that applications are just one tool among others to help you achieve your goals. Try to have a clear view of what an app can do for you before making your choice! According to Alexander V. Prokhorov, MD, PhD and director of MD Anderson’s e-Health Technology Program, “Once you choose an app, make sure you understand what it’s intended to do and how you will use it to help reach your objectives.”

2)     Search for recommendations of other users

In all official app stores, under the description of each app, you can find recommendations of other users. It is really important to see what other people are thinking of the app you are considering using, although you should make sure when weighing their comments that they expected the same things from the app that you do. Moreover, you can search for reviews in forums or find users and ask them their opinion in other online communities (i.e. Facebook mhealth groups/pages). Their feedback may help you understand if the app really corresponds to its official description.

3)     Test as many as you can

As we suggested in our blog post about medication management, if you are hesitating among numerous apps that have a low cost or are free, the best thing to do is try them all and see which one you find more convenient and user-friendly.

4)     Prefer official application stores

There are numerous examples of third-party app stores that are fake, built to steal user data and information and it’s hard to know which ones can be trusted. In order to be safe and stay away from viruses, we would recommend you choose official app stores (such as iTunes or Google Play) when searching for a health care app, or any other app for that matter.

5)     Look for apps that can be personalized

This is a tip you should follow especially when you are searching for a fitness or a tracking app. For example, a fitness app should contain workouts of various levels and make it possible for you to choose the intensity of your exercises just as you would do in a real gym.

Do you have any other tip to share with us? Join the conversation in the comments!


Susie Felber

Susie is a writer and producer who has worked in nearly every medium. As the daughter of a hard-working M.D., she's had a lifelong interest in health and is proud that she continues to lower her 5k time as she ages.
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