Trends in user ratings and reviews of a popular yet inaccurate blood pressure-measuring smartphone app

Timothy B. Plante, Anna C. O'Kelly, Zane T. MacFarlane, Bruno Urrea, Lawrence Appel, Edgar R Miller, Roger S Blumenthal, Seth Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To understand whether user reviews of Instant Blood Pressure (IBP), an inaccurate, unregulated BPmeasuring app reflected IBP's inaccuracy, to understand drivers for high and low ratings, and to understand if disclaimers prevented medical use. Materials and Methods: All iTunes app reviews for IBP v1.2.3 were downloaded and assessed for themes by two reviewers. Summary statistics for themes were tabulated with their associated star ratings. Results: Common themes included perceived accuracy (42% of all reviews, star rating mean 4.8, median 5), inaccuracy (10%, 2.0, 1), and convenience (34%, 4.7, 5). Nine percent documented IBP use in medical conditions (4.6, 5), and 2% mentioned IBP's disclaimer (2.7, 3). Discussion: User reviews and ratings of a popular, inaccurate BP-measuring app were positive and uncommonly commented on its inaccuracy. Disclaimers attempting to prevent medical use of the app were ineffective. These findings support the need for more rigorous regulatory review of apps prior to their release.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1074-1079
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018



  • blood pressure
  • mobile health
  • smartphone
  • user impressions
  • user reviews

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

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