Review of the Hello Heart for iPhone and Android
Roughly 80 million Americans have high blood pressure. Of those individuals, it’s estimated that somewhere between a third and a half do not have their blood pressure under control.
We’ve recently reviewed a number of connected blood pressure devices and their associated apps including iHealth, Withings, Qardio, & Omron. We also recently reviewed Tensio from Humetrix, which pulls in blood pressure data through HealthKit but doesn’t let you enter blood pressure data manually into the app. What about patients who have good old fashioned unconnected blood pressure monitors?
Here we’ll take a look at blood pressure tracking app Hello Heart, available for iPhone & Android, which both pulls data in from HealthKit and has a really easy to use manual entry option.
On first opening the app, you’re taken through a set up process that includes entry of your past medical history as well as HealthKit set up. The app also uses Touch ID on the iPhone, helping make subsequent app use easy. Otherwise, the app is password protected.
A really interesting feature is that you can connect the app to your clinic’s EMR to pull health information and lab values.
The app opens to a blood pressure chart; you can swipe back as well to view older blood pressure data. Adding a blood pressure manually is easy, just by tapping the big red button on the home screen.
The Weekly BP Report is well designed and includes a chart of weekly averages and another for daily averages. It’s a nice adjunct to the more granular data on the home screen. The app could be improved with more customization options for reviewing data such as setting date ranges. A big deficit here is the inability to export or share blood pressure data.
The app also includes a reminder function to measure blood pressure, though oddly only lets you set frequency and not specific times.
Tapping on My Meds in the lower navigation bar takes us to the medications screen where we can enter a full medication list. The user interface here is intuitive and easy to use; testing about a dozen common blood pressure medications, I didn’t have any issues. Notably missing though is medication reminders or tracking functionality.
Tapping on the Am I OK tab takes us to that screen where we get feedback on blood pressure data as well as cholesterol data. The latter is pulled from the clinic EMR if connected or can be manually entered in the Medical info or Me tabs.
Interpreting blood pressure and cholesterol is more complicated than depicted in the app. I appreciate what they were trying to do, particularly with simplified interpretation using basically an emoticon and practical tips on lifestyle modification. However, goals vary by age, risk factors, and comorbidities – none of which is taken into account here. This section of the app is an overreach and I’d recommend patients ignore this assessment for the most part; a better approach would be to enable individualized goal setting that each patient can do with their doctor.
Next, the Medical Info section is where we can store a wide range of health information. There are an overwhelming number of categories here, to the point that I tended to avoid it. Oddly, in the lipid category, I could only enter data as free text (which is not then charted in the Am I OK?). One nice feature here is the ability to save pictures say of an echocardiogram report.
Finally, the Me section includes the ability to add doctor contact information, enter lipid data as structured data (so it can be displayed in the Am I OK? chart), link to your clinic, and more.
Reviewer Note: I did not connect this app to my own MyChart account. Because of the number of apps I review, it would be irresponsible of me to connect that many apps to my health records without a health reason to do so. I’ve requested a demo account from Hello Heart and will update the review accordingly if that’s done
- Very easy & quick to enter blood pressure
- Integration with clinic EMR (at least via MyChart for Epic users)
- Medication list function
- HIPAA compliant data storage
- Blood pressure reminders available but can’t set time
- No medication reminders
- Can’t share data with your doctor
- Medical history section is way too complicated
Overall, Hello Heart is well designed and easy to use for tracking blood pressure though it could be improved in several ways. Patients using non-connected home BP monitors would be well served by this app, especially if you either don’t need data between visits or your patient doesn’t use email. With some of the additions & modifications described above though, this app could become a stand out option in a crowded field.
- Overall Score
- User Interface
Well designed though some elements (huge history section) could be improved
- Multimedia Usage
Fair blood pressure visualization & sharing options
- Real World Applicability
Very easy to enter, track blood pressure
- Device Used For Review
- Available for DownloadAndroidiPhone