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Are mobile health & fitness apps more harmful than helpful?

Posted at 1:20 PM, May 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-10 13:19:18-04

MEMPHIS - Whether you're stuffing your face or trying to shed off the pounds, there's an app for that. If you count on apps to count calories, doctors in Tennessee say watch out.

"There's information out there that can coincide with what a patient may think is going on or there's information out there that can give them of course the very worst case scenario, which can create a lot of anxiety for the patients," says Dr. Zshvetta Jones of Unity Medical Clinic.

A study from the University of Memphis says patients who use health apps are more likely to be swayed in their decision to go see a doctor. The study cited a skin cancer app that gave bad readings, resulting in delayed medical treatment.

Docs also claim health and fitness apps could do more harm than good, in more ways than one. We're talking privacy and security issues.

"I do believe there are a lot of positive aspects with this mobile health applications, however they need to be more regulated," says Dr. Soumitra Bhuyan with University of Memphis.

Doctors are bound by federal privacy laws how to handle patients' medical records. Yeah, that thing called HIPPA. Many apps may expose and share your personal health information.

On the click-side, how about just use that mobile device to call or set an appointment. The life you save may be your own.