, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 557-561
Date: 26 Jun 2013

Contemporary hernia smartphone applications (apps)

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Abstract

Aims

Smartphone technology and downloadable applications (apps) have created an unprecedented opportunity for access to medical information and healthcare-related tools by clinicians and their patients. Here, we review the current smartphone apps in relation to hernias, one of the most common operations worldwide. This article presents an overview of apps relating to hernias and discusses content, the presence of medical professional involvement and commercial interests.

Methods

The most widely used smartphone app online stores (Google Play, Apple, Nokia, Blackberry, Samsung and Windows) were searched for the following hernia-related terms: hernia, inguinal, femoral, umbilical, incisional and totally extraperitoneal. Those with no reference to hernia or hernia surgery were excluded.

Results

26 smartphone apps were identified. Only 9 (35 %) had named medical professional involvement in their design/content and only 10 (38 %) were reviewed by consumers. Commercial interests/links were evident in 96 % of the apps. One app used a validated mathematical algorithm to help counsel patients about post-operative pain.

Conclusions and opportunities

There were a relatively small number of apps related to hernias in view of the worldwide frequency of hernia repair. This search identified many opportunities for the development of informative and validated evidence-based patient apps which can be recommended to patients by physicians. Greater regulation, transparency of commercial interests and involvement of medical professionals in the content and peer-review of healthcare-related apps is required.