Four out of five health and medical apps are ‘so bad they could put patients at risk’, NHS-backed review finds
- Only around 20 per cent of smartphone health apps followed clinical guidelines
- Majority which promised help with conditions like cancer fell below standards
- Tests were carried out by Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps
Four out of five health apps fail to meet basic quality standards and may even harm patients, an NHS-backed review has found.
Only around 20 per cent of smartphone health and medical apps followed clinical guidelines, kept patient data secure, were safe from hackers and were easy to use.
But the vast majority which promised to help people with conditions like cancer, obesity or mental health problems fell far below basic standards.
Of 3,600 apps claiming to support cancer patients, around three quarters did not meet basic standards
Only around 20 per cent of smartphone health and medical apps followed clinical guidelines
The tests, on around 5,000 apps, were carried out by the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps, an independent assessor which evaluates app quality for the NHS.
Researchers tested them against more than 350 quality criteria, including the security of patients’ data and whether medical advice followed NHS treatment guidelines.
Of 3,600 apps claiming to support cancer patients, around three quarters did not meet basic standards.
Similar tests on 379 diet and weight management apps found just 80 were of good quality.
And only a third of mental health apps were considered good enough – with seven in ten designed to prevent suicide failing to meet basic scores.