Health apps have been anointed the next big thing in the tech world, but not all apps are created equal. When it comes to diabetes-related apps, it turns out you might get what you pay for.
Diabetes-related apps with a pricetag attached to them are designed to be more user-friendly than free ones, according to a new study reported on by Medscape. When it comes to apps that manage blood sugar readings or diet plans, an app is only useful if it encourages users to use it (say that five times fast). Researchers found that paid-for apps were designed with more intuitive features, like easy navigation buttons.
Researchers believe that paid apps are more efficient because developers are more rigorous with their research and have the budget to conduct testing to make adjustments. For the study, researchers randomly selected 110 diabetes apps from a total of more than 450 options in the Apple App Store – 69% of the apps were free, and the average cost of a paid app was $4.57.
The study found that even many paid-for health apps fell short of researchers’ standards – less than half of the apps featured adequate integration options that connect with the user’s email account or online calendar, and fewer than 17% of the apps had features like audio or visual, or the ability to share data on Twitter.
There is a big push to create diabetes-related health apps in the tech world, and that has led to some app-makers making questionable health claims about their products. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has begun cracking down on health app-makers who make empty promises about their apps’ ability to improve health, according to a recent Marketplace report. When it comes to choosing a diabetes health app, take a good, hard look at online reviews and see if there is a demo of the app available.