Mobile Applications for Contraception Information: A Short Overview
The use of modern technological devices such as smartphones and tablets is increasing in the U.S. One in five smartphone owners have a mobile application related to health. Although there are many healthcare applications regarding contraception, little has been published about the content and functionalities of these applications. There is lack of information regarding the accuracy of content of mobile health applications in general and those related to contraception and family planning in particular. At University of California Los Angeles, we reviewed the mobile applications that were listed by searching the iOS platform with keywords related to contraception and family planning. Of 160 applications with contraception related content 16 were primarily geared towards healthcare providers. These included journals, textbooks and reference guides. 144 applications were targeted towards reproductive age men and women and included menstrual cycle trackers (40), birth control reminders (26), games (16), sexual health information applications (40) and applications to locate family planning centers (22). Mobile applications offer guidance for “effective contraception use; however”, it is difficult to track each application’s references and the frequency with which it is updated.. It is thus very important to maintain a healthy sense of skepticism regarding the safety and accuracy of content of these mobile applications.