User experience of instant blood pressure: exploring reasons for the popularity of an inaccurate mobile health app

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Instant blood pressure (IBP) is a top-selling yet inaccurate blood pressure (BP)-measuring app that underreports elevated BP. Its iTunes app store user ratings and reviews were generally positive. Whether underreporting of elevated BP improves user experience is unknown. Participants enrolled at five clinics estimated their BP, measured their BP with IBP, then completed a user experience survey. Participants were grouped based on how their IBP BP measurements compared to their estimated BP (IBP Lower, IBP Similar, or IBP Higher). Logistic regressions compared odds of rating “agree” or “strongly agree” on survey questions by group. Most participants enjoyed using the app. In the adjusted model, IBP Higher had significantly lower proportions reporting enjoyment and motivation to check BP in the future than IBP Similar. All three groups were comparable in perceived accuracy of IBP and most participants perceived it to be accurate. However, user enjoyment and likelihood of future BP monitoring were negatively associated with higher-than-expected reported systolic BP. These data suggest reassuring app results from an inaccurate BP-measuring app may have improved user experience, which may have led to more positive user reviews and greater sales. Systematic underreporting of elevated BPs may have been a contributor to the app’s success. Further studies are needed to confirm whether falsely reassuring output from other mobile health apps improve user experience and drives uptake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number31
Journalnpj Digital Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management
  • Computer Science Applications

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