Smartphone apps useful as OC reminders

May 1, 2014

A systematic review of Smartphone reminder applications (apps) by investigators at the Ohio State University shows that they may be useful as back-up reminders for patients on oral contraceptives (OCs). The research was presented at the 2014 ACOG Annual Clinical Meeting.

 

A systematic review of Smartphone reminder applications (apps) by investigators at the Ohio State University shows that they may be useful as back-up reminders for patients on oral contraceptives (OCs). The research was presented at the 2014 ACOG Annual Clinical Meeting.

The authors identified and evaluated 39 English-language Smartphone apps for OC reminders, based on a search of mobile platforms on the terms “birth control,” “the pill,” and “contraception.” Costs of the apps found ranged from free to $3.99 and health care professionals had been involved in development of only three of them.  Reminder methods included sound (79%), vibration (64%), popup (49%) and light-emitting diode notification (51%).  Additional features included snooze reminders (41%), acknowledgement before the display would clear (67%), and an audio alarm that allowed the reminder to override a phone’s silent mode (65%). Twenty-eight percent of apps had all the safeguards. Of note, 18% of apps didn’t work when installed.

Given the potential to miss an alarm and the lack of appropriate safeguards on some of the apps, the investigators concluded that women should not rely on them as the sole reminder to take a daily OC. They may be useful as a back-up, however, and recommendations from health care providers on which ones work best would be beneficial to patients.

Gal N, Zite N, Wallace L. A systematic review of Smartphone oral contraceptive reminder applications. Obstet Gynecol. 2014;123(5):9S


 

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