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Author Topic: Health Apps Useful, But Unused  (Read 1313 times)

Renegade

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Health Apps Useful, But Unused
« on: January 30, 2013, 06:43:56 AM »
An interesting article on a software category:

http://au.news.yahoo...but-usage-low-study/

Quote
US consumers are being offered a vast range of smartphone apps to track or manage health, but only a small number of people are using them, according to a survey.

The Pew Research Center's study found that only about seven percent of people surveyed used a smartphone app to track a health indicator like weight, diet, exercise routine or to monitor a chronic disease such as diabetes.

"There's still a low uptake in terms of apps and technology," said lead researcher Susannah Fox.

"It is surprising. We've been looking at health apps since 2010, and health app uptake has been essentially flat for three years."

The research suggests that consumers are slow to latch on to smartphone technology for health even in a market with hundreds of new apps coming on the market to manage weight and track blood pressure, pregnancy, blood sugar, diabetes or medication.

Seems like a category that people just don't manage to work into their daily routines.
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eleman

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Re: Health Apps Useful, But Unused
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2013, 06:48:28 AM »
Or it's perhaps a category of apps that ask for too many inputs too frequently to make the app inconvenient, and return only common sense answers you would already know.

Renegade

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Re: Health Apps Useful, But Unused
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2013, 06:54:54 AM »
Or it's perhaps a category of apps that ask for too many inputs too frequently to make the app inconvenient, and return only common sense answers you would already know.

Crappy category or crappy design? Interesting question.
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eleman

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Re: Health Apps Useful, But Unused
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2013, 07:23:47 AM »
It's perhaps related more with the nature of medicine (as a field). Despite all the research and improvements in the field, the object of medical science is still far too complicated, and input data is still inadequate to provide medicine with the predictive power we would come to expect from hard (not as in difficult) sciences (such as physics).

I'm not supporting the alternative medicine and homeopathy silliness. Medicine as a science is our best shot at understanding and fixing our medical problems, but it is still way too far from perfect.

In this picture, the data you can practically feed into a simple phone is bound to be too limited to help it reach specific conclusions (i.e. "You have invasive ductal carcinoma"). So the results provided by the app are bound to be either what you would reach through common sense, or useless. To make the matters worse, data input cannot be automated as the phone lacks hardware sensors (I hear galaxy S XXIV will incorporate cat scan ability though), so they are cumbersome to use.

Renegade

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Re: Health Apps Useful, But Unused
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2013, 07:44:15 AM »
Well, I don't expect that the bulk of health apps are designed to diagnose esoteric illnesses, but just things like how far you jogged that day, or other simple things. But people just aren't using them.

As for allopathic and homeopathic medicine, my opinion is better mostly confined to the Basement. I've seen "homeopathic silliness" work and used it to good effect. Nuff said. I'm a firm believer in logic, mathematics and physics (you could call me an extremist there) in that order. Both have their place. There are nutjobs and con-men in both camps.
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TaoPhoenix

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Re: Health Apps Useful, But Unused
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2013, 09:43:31 AM »
Crappy category or crappy design? Interesting question.

Crappy Design.
I'm becoming annoyed by the lack of quality in mobile apps. I really wish they would just make a "phone-PC", even if the specs are reminiscent of what we "used to consider okay" (PIII?)
I'm getting dissuaded from even going to the App Store because everyone is racing to put out Crippleware for the free app which makes you take a long pause before you spend between $1 and $20 (!!) per paid version.

It gets to the point where the only thing the devs make is a nice intro screen so that it looks almost sensible. (Oops, sometimes not even that. Both the SciFi collections look *worse* than a child's art project.) So les'see...

We're talking about Health apps, right? So the other night all I wanted was some ambient music to play on my headphones to go to sleep. So something like all ten of the "sleep help" apps have some 1-3 tracks, with more on sale for $3-5 each per track. Then they only have some 5-10 controls and features. Really?!

Let's try Audiobooks. I grabbed one which is literally nothing more than a front end for one/more of the Librivox SciFi collections. Streaming. They don't download for you to play for your hair raising pleasure. They *stream*. Every time. Librivox. Ever heard one of those? They're *Public Domain*. I can't think of a better app where it could sit on the table while you have dinner and download the audio books. No. They need to stream. Every. Single. Time. And 5-8 of them don't even connect. The other SciFi collection (with half the same readers, but apparently Non-Librivox editions with the disclaimer edited out) doesn't even have an audio volume adjuster or a track position slider.

So no. It's bad quality. Not to mention less than 5% of apps create anything exportable. So say you have this health app. All your data is stuck there in that app. That's because phones don't create files, remember? So overall I will never forgive that part of the phone-OS mentality. It will therefore always be a Phone with a couple extra widgets.

Looping back on topic then, why would I want to use a phone app to track something important if there were A, very few features, and B, no exportability? Yuck.

Some of y'all's "Snacks" have better quality than bunches of those phone apps.

Edvard

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Re: Health Apps Useful, But Unused
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2013, 11:44:38 PM »
Hmmm... sounds like there's still some room for quality apps after all.  I had been dissuaded from dipping my toes in mobile development water precisely because there are about a bajillion apps for everything you can imagine, but I've been finding the same thing you have; crap design or just plain false advertising for 90+% of them.

Seems health apps are something you have to maintain and folks vastly prefer anything automagic or 'set-and-forget' over something that demands attention, so it's no surprise.  Maybe if they made it in to a game, like a weight tracker that worked like a Tamagotchiw so NOT entering your info gave you a lower score in some sort of game.