Oyuka Byambasuren MD

PhD candidate, Centre for Research in Evidence-Based Practice, Bond University researched the effectiveness of patient-facing health apps and their usability in primary care

“Apps alone can’t do it. However, research also indicates that sustained use of the right apps in conjunction with professional support can certainly help achieve desired health outcomes. In other words, accountability seems to matter.”

David E. Conroy, Ph.D.

Professor of Kinesiology and Human Development & Family Studies at Penn State University analyzed the 200 top apps. Following excerpt was published in an article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

“You need motivational support to turn that knowledge into action…”

Leslie Young

Senior National Online Journalist, Health Global News. Article: There are thousands of health and fitness apps, and not much evidence they work: study

“Although there are 320,000 health and fitness apps on major app stores, she said, the researchers were only able to find six systematic reviews, which included only 23 randomized control trials — the gold standard for medical research — since 2008. These trials examined 22 currently-available apps that were designed to help with mental health, diabetes management and obesity. In a few trials, calorie-counting apps didn’t seem to help much with weight loss. One top app, when tested on its own for six months according to the study, “the intervention made almost no difference to the weight of the participants.”

Dr. John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Article: Why Most Health & Mental Health Apps Fail

“Apps fail because tracking is boring work which most people tire of quickly (usually within the first week), and because most people don’t get much short-term motivation from long-term goals.”

Oyungerel Byambasuren, Sharon Sanders, Elaine Beller & Paul Glasziou

NPJ Digital Medicine. Article: Prescribable mHealth apps identified from an overview of systematic reviews

“MyFitnessPal app is one of the consistently highest rated free apps for calorie monitoring and it contains database of 3 million food items. However, when tested on its own for 6 months, the intervention made almost no difference to the weight of the participants.29 This study also provided an insight on the usage of the apps during the trial, which showed that the logins to the app dropped sharply to nearly zero after 1 month from acquiring it. These three studies also suffered from a high overall attrition rate of more than 30% and the intervention groups lost more participants than the control groups. Another calorie-counting app FatSecret was tested as an addition to a weight-loss podcast made and previously proven effective by the same study team. The results showed no difference in weight loss between the groups. ”


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