The short answer is no; it is not safe or secure to use blood pressure apps or software. It is true that software can be very useful and convenient in monitoring medical data. Sometimes however, the technology that is supposed to make healthcare more convenient can be dangerous. A wave of blood pressure monitoring software and hardware on the market has experts concerned.
Officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and doctors have expressed concern that blood pressure apps could be providing inaccurate, unverifiable and dangerous blood pressure results.
According to physicians at the Cambridge Health Alliance, millions of smartphone owners use their phones and apps to measure their blood pressure results.
The Apple App Store and Google Play both offer hundreds of medical apps to track and evaluate personal health conditions. But the apps are untested and sometimes, they are even sold as if they are legitimate substitutes for real-world medical equipment.
A book published last spring titled “On the Privacy, Security and Safety of Blood Pressure and Diabetes Apps”, sounded the alarm on mobile health devices.
The authors acknowledged that mobile monitoring and testing tools are useful when evaluating long-term health conditions. However, the authors found that the software that tracks hypertension and diabetes failed to carefully safeguard the personal data of its users.
In fact, most of the apps reviewed by the cybersecurity researchers failed to ensure even basic safeguards. The authors identified poor coding, inadequate validation tests, unclear privacy policies and unsafe communication structures as the key reasons for the security issues in blood pressure and diabetes apps.
Until these security dilemmas and testing deficiencies are resolved, blood pressure app users should remain wary of mobile healthcare solutions.
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