Review of the Smart BP app for iPhone and Android

Frequently in clinic, I ask my patients to monitor their blood pressure at home. Doing that, however, is only useful if I’m able to review that information with them and make adjustments in therapy accordingly. And those notebooks that my patients often track blood pressure in have an awful habit of being lost or forgotten.

Smart BP is a simple blood pressure app, available for iPhone and Android, that tries to bring that diary into the 21st century.

Opening the app, we land on the blood pressure entry screen, which is a bit bland but gets straight to the point. Tapping on each number (SBP, DBP, heart rate), we can enter recorded values. Time of recording can be adjusted as well. You can also add tags and notes. As soon as all values are entered, the recording is saved.

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We did note that each blood pressure measurement required a weight which was pretty tedious; that can be disabled in the Settings but really should be an opt-in function.

Tapping the Reminders button on the top left takes us to the device reminder app (in my case the reminder app on the iPhone). In my opinion, that’s a weakness. The device reminder app isn’t really designed for health tracking. A blood pressure tracking app really should have an embedded reminder functionality.

To share blood pressure data, you have to tap on History first. Oddly, tapping on Share on the home screen only lets you share the most recent recording. That design could be improved by having Share offer more dynamic options.

Under History, we can review a full list of all recorded blood pressures. Notable features here include the ability to export PDF reports to cloud services like Dropbox or Google Drive. Data can also be shared via email as a CSV or PDF or loaded to HealthVault. You can individually select which readings to include in each sharing functionality or you can set a date range (tapping the calendar icon on the bottom left).

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From the home screen, we can also view the data by tapping on Charts. Data can be visualized in a graph with several preset time periods (past week, month, and so on). You can slide a cursor on the graph to see the actual measurement.

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There is also an option to view data in a bar graph as percentages within a range (e.g. percent of readings between 110-120 mm Hg, 120-130 mm Hg, and so on).

In both the History and Chart sections, you can also sort based on tags. Unfortunately, it only pulls measurements with these tags. So marking when you started a new medication, for example, and seeing all blood pressure recordings after that isn’t possible.

The app is integrated partially with HealthKit; it can only load data to the Health app but not download data from it.

In the Information tab, there is a link to the Privacy Policy which currently does not work. We contacted the developer, a biomedical engineer who developed the app as a hobby, who referred us here. The app can also be protected by TouchID on iPhone devices (via Settings).

  • Price
    • Free with ads, $1.99 for ad-free version
    • Simple design
    • Lots of sharing options
    • Does not require lots of personal information or set up
    • Nice graph visualization option
  • Dislikes
    • Partial HealthKit integration
    • Sharing could be more intuitive (i.e. making the <em>Share</em> button on home screen more useful)
    • Tagging functionality could be improved
    • Lack of embedded reminder functionality
    • No medication tracking
  • Overall

    Smart BP is a really simple and, for the most part, easy to use blood pressure diary app. With a few tweaks, particularly around sharing, it could be made a lot more intuitive. There is also room for improvement in terms of the reminder functionality and data visualization in the graph (optimizing for review in a clinic visit for example); the developer should consider medication tracking as well. Overall, for patients who are (1) using unconnected blood pressure monitors and (2) need a simple blood pressure diary app that has good data sharing options, Smart BP is a solid choice.

  • Overall Score
  • User Interface

    A bit bland and could be more intuitive in some areas

  • Multimedia Usage

    Graphs are pretty well designed

  • Price

    Reasonable price for removal of ads

  • Real World Applicability

    Addresses an important need

  • Device Used For Review

    iPhone 5S

  • Available for DownloadAndroidiPhone