Patient Centric App Review Series

App Reviewed: Ultraviolet ~ UV Index 1.0.1
Last Updated:
August 7, 2011
Compatibility:
iPhone, iPad
Requires:
4.0 iOs or greater
Reviewed on:
iPad

Goals of app review:

  • Can this app help individuals use the UV Index to improve sun protection in any geographic location?
  • Can Ultraviolet be recommended as a professional app to patients.

Introduction:

Robocat has developed this very simple and visually appealing app using GPS that is able to locate the user and inform them of the UV index of that specific day and the next. It also gives educational input for sunscreen or other ways to protect oneself from UV rays if so indicated.

App Specifics:

The opening page of the app requests permission to use location data. Once given, the screen indicates the UV Index and gives appropriate recommendations regarding sun protection.

Healthcare goals of app:

Exposure to the sun increases the risk of skin cancer due to damage to the skin by UV rays. Knowing how “strong” the sun is, particularly in climates where the UV Rays can be quite high or for individuals of fair complexion who may need extra protection, is useful information.

Evidence to support goals:

Because the UV Index (UVI) is poorly understood and rarely used by the general population[1] and smartphone app use by the public for health reasons is in its infancy, it is impossible to know if this app could have any impact on reducing sun-caused skin damage or improve understanding of the UVI by the general public.

Price:

  • $ – free
  • $0.99 – removes ads

Likes:

  • Very easy user interface
  • Attractive interface
  • Does exactly what it advertises
  • Has the potential, by its pleasing and easy interface, to increase awareness of the UV Index and the dangers of too much sun exposure.

Dislikes:

  • Can only change UV data by moving a pin on a map which can be tricky for less computer savvy individuals
  • No recent updates
  • No ability to obtain support from the app itself
  • No information is given as to where the developer obtained its sun protection recommendations for the various UV Index numbers

What providers would benefit from app?

  • Dermatologist
  • Primary Care Physicians
  • Emergency Room Physicians

What patient would benefit from app?

  • Patients with fair skin or increased risk of melanoma or other skin cancers.
  • Patients living in climates of high UV exposure

Conclusion:

  • Robocat has developed a simple app, one click to the main screen.
  • Pros–simple to use, aesthetically appealing
  • Cons–difficult to use the app to check travel locations, no general education area regarding sun exposure.

Bottom Line:

This is a very simplistic app with one goal–to give the “average” user sun protection advice regarding the UV Index for which average is not defined. An education section in the app with its basic sun recommendations would be helpful to users, instead of listing recommendations only under the UV Index number. Unfortunately no references are cited as to how the app makes its recommendations, so useful as it is, it cannot be recommended for use by medical professionals.

References:

1. Italia,N. Health Educ Res. 2012 Apr;27(2):200-13. Epub 2011 Jul 5.

Disclaimer:
This post does not establish, nor is it intended to establish, a patient physician relationship with anyone. It does not substitute for professional advice, and does not substitute for an in-person evaluation with your health care provider. It does not provide the definitive statement on the subject addressed. Before using these apps please consult with your own physician or health care provider as to the apps validity and accuracy as this post is not intended to affirm the validity or accuracy of the apps in question. The app(s) mentioned in this post should not be used without discussing the app first with your health care provider.