Many people love technology and hate doctors. Maybe hate is too strong of a word, but between the costs of seeing a doctor, the waiting time, and then having to go back for the follow up appointment makes getting sick something to be avoided.
But we love the medical technology that goes with a visit to the doctor. It seems every time we stop in there is some new device, usually smaller and more accurate, that they are using and we are paying for. Some technology companies have taken advantage of this love-hate relationship and brought certain medical technologies to the average person’s home.
Blood Pressure Apps
One of the apps that has quickly gained traction is said to measure your blood pressure. For many people, young and old, the miniaturization of the blood pressure monitor so that it could be used on a smartphone made life easier. Pressure could be measured virtually anytime, anywhere, and in many cases the results could be stored for retrieval later on. The best part was in most cases the app cost zero.
New Research Required
But the latest research has suggested that not only do the apps not correctly measure blood pressure, but the number of people that have downloaded the apps – about 2.4 million – concerns medical researchers because of the false readings. The general consensus is that such technology is in the early stages of development. A reliable and accurate app is still far away.
The reason the apps are so popular is likely to be that people like solutions that are quick and easy – and cheap. Though the research did not indicate how many people took the readings from the apps seriously, the number of downloads suggests that a certain number of at-risk people with high blood pressure or cardiac-related conditions are using the results to manage their health. People with chronic low blood pressure are also at risk because of the dangers of becoming disoriented and falling.
We do love our technology, but there is a line that needs to be drawn when it comes to how reliable the technology is. Doctors and medical experts are trained for a reason, and they take responsibility for any wrong information that is communicated to the patient. App companies take no such responsibility. As consumers of technology we need to know what the limits are of the technology we purchase.