Newsflash: Mobile Health App Developers Under Fire for Misleading Claims and Irresponsible Privacy Practices

April 07, 2017

Mobile health apps are becoming more and more popular as a tool for consumers in maintaining healthy lifestyles. However, there is a growing concern that the health-related benefits are being over-stated by mobile health app developers. The New York Attorney General’s Health Care Bureau (“NYAG”) recently conducted a year-long investigation of mobile health app developers whose apps purported to measure vital signs and other indicators of health (referred to as “Health Measurement Apps”). For example, one such Health Measurement App used a smartphone’s camera and sensors, without any other external device, to measure consumer’s heartrate. The app would then compare the consumer’s heart rate readings at rest and before and after physical activity. The NYAG indicated these Health Measurement Apps could be harmful to consumers if the apps provide inaccurate or misleading results by either providing a false reassurance to the consumer that he or she is healthy or, on the other hand, incorrectly indicating that a medical issue exists.

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