How health apps are used and evaluated

New TAB-Sensor illustrates the results of a nationwide representative survey on the benefits of health apps and on possible fields of action from the point of view of the population.
Cover TAB-Sensor Nr. 2: Wie werden GesundheitsApps genutzt und bewertet? Ergebnisse einer Repräsentativbefragung
TAB-Sensor Nr. 2: Wie werden Gesundheits-Apps genutzt und bewertet?

Apps (short for application software) increasingly determine everyday life. More and more often, people are using apps with the aim of having a positive effect on their health. Against the background of the increased performance of smartphones and wearables, apps are constantly opening up new possibilities to accompany people's everyday forms of health action in an individually adapted way. The apps record, process and illustrate health-related data. This can be data on nutritional values (calories), quantities and composition of consumed food, alcohol, water or coffee, or body data such as number of steps, pulse, calorie consumption, blood sugar, weight, breathing or sleep quality. Many users are careless with their health data. They are not aware that their personal data is often inadequately secured.

The results of the representative online survey conducted in April 2019 show that about one third of the population uses health apps. However, the frequencies of use differ quite significantly, ranging from daily to monthly.

From the point of view of all those surveyed, the benefit assessment of health apps is quite positive overall. This applies to apps that record physiological parameters such as heart rate or blood sugar, but also to apps at the interface with medicine that serve, for example, to self-monitor disease-related symptoms.

By contrast, health apps that can be used for self-diagnosis of diseases and symptoms such as skin cancer or shortness of breath are rated as beneficial by only about a third of all respondents - here, clear priority is obviously given to medical expertise in diagnostics.

The results of the nationwide survey are a supplement to TAB's innovation analysis on the topic of »health apps«, which was published as TAB Working Report No. 179.

The TAB-Sensor series (published in German only, but with intuitively understandable graphics) presents social perceptions, evaluations and views on issues of scientific and technological change. It is based on empirical surveys of societal stakeholders that are developed and evaluated according to scientific standards. 



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