Study: 2 percent of women's health apps were developed by medical professionals

By Aditi Pai
07:47 am
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Ovia Pregnancy Ovia Pregnancy

Of the nearly 100 iOS apps focused on tracking women's reproductive health, few have been assessed or recommended by reproductive health experts, a recent study of such apps and the corresponding literature has concluded.

The study was published in Obstetrics & Gynecology and it included an analysis of 94 unique menstrual cycle tracking apps found in Apple App Store, as well as a review of six other previously published journal articles that focused on menstrual health tracking.

Some 20 percent of apps that help women track their reproductive health offer a pregnancy mode, the analysis found. Some 23 percent of the apps allowed users to tailor their tracking for irregular cycles and just 2 percent of apps advertised that they were developed by medical professionals.

Researchers explained that although the CDC and the NIH have previously endorsed related apps, like CDC's app on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, the organizations did not create or endorse any of the 94 menstrual health tracking apps in the study.

Almost half, 43 percent, of the apps allowed users to create a password; 22 percent of the apps had a backup or restore data feature; 10 percent could export or email app data; and 7 percent could connect to social media. Apps ranged in price from free to $16.99, and 17 percent of the free apps also had paid versions.

Recently, a women's health app developer, Ovuline, published demographic data about users of their Ovia pregnancy app, which helps women who have already conceived to track their pregnancy.

Of the 1 million women that use their Ovia Pregancy app, 71 percent have a job — 50 percent of those women plan to keep working until their due date. Over half, 58 percent, of the women have attended college and 18 percent have a post-graduate degree. The average age of women using the app is 26.8 years old.