Healthcare News & Insights

Do doctors trust mobile apps for healthcare?

Many mobile applications are being developed to help people better manage their health. But how do doctors, nurses and other clinicians feel about their patients relying on those apps? 

Mobile health apps include software that helps track symptoms, or other information such as weight and calories, as well as apps that offer reminders and information about conditions.

Overall, doctors seem to think those are beneficial for patients, according to a recent survey conducted by digital health communications firm Enspektos. However, there is some level of doubt about the credibility of the information contained in those apps.

Of the 100 physicians surveyed, 70% said mobile apps offered credible or very credible information. However, among nurses, just 46% said mobile health apps were credible or very credible. And pharmacists fell in the middle, with 61% giving that response.

Healthcare web sites got higher ratings than apps, with 78% of doctors, 69% of nurses and 71% of pharmacists approving the credibility of those information sources. However, social networking sites are not considered a credible source for health information — 10% or fewer of each group approved of those sites.

Given the disagreement about the credibility of mobile health apps, should doctors encourage their use? The bottom line is that, just as with anything else, some mobile apps are more credible than others, as most doctors agreed. Doctors and nurses can help steer their patients toward the best ones by conducting their own research and making recommendations.

The same should be done with health-related websites. Most people turn to the web for information about their healthcare, and doctors can help their patients make better decisions by offering tips on how to choose the best sources for health information.

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