Technology

Health apps diagnosing patients may have a flaw, study finds

Health apps do not take into account factors like physical examination or test results analysis, researchers said.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

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Health apps that use chatbots to diagnose and check symptoms in patients via their smartphones may be lacking necessary functions to do a full check, according to a study conducted by Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology.

Apps like WebMD, Medscape, and Ada, do not support physical examination, diagnose completely, or analyse test results as these data are difficult to know using mobile apps, in a study yet to be published.

These applications can only know patient history and their symptoms, provide preliminary diagnosis, suggest follow up tests, and then make referrals to doctors.

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The team of researchers probed these apps’ features, analysed user reviews, and conducted interviews before concluding that users perceive chatbot-based apps to lack a comprehensive medical diagnosis.

Artificial intelligence (AI)-powered medical apps have become popular as millions of people turn to their smartphones for medical help. But, most people still trust doctors, the researchers noted.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 6:57:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/health-apps-diagnosing-patients-may-have-a-flaw-study-finds/article32740001.ece

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