Headache Diary Apps NOT Evidence Based

Headache Diary Apps NOT Evidence BasedThere is a severe lack of quality headache diary apps according to a new systematic rigorous review published last month by researchers from IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Cananda.Headache sufferers are typically recommended to use a diary to record headache events. The researchers examined the apps on the basis of 7 criteria that they developed. An ideal headache diary app, in their judgment, should – “be created with clinical and/or scientific headache expertise, have undergone testing to ensure the diary is a feasible and reliable method of data collection, measure clinically relevant headache variables, be usable, include customizable answer options and reports, include reports linking multiple variables, and have the ability to export headache data from the app.”

The researchers identified 38 apps as headache diaries – 24 on iOS only, 11 on Android only, and 3 on both platforms; 50% of the apps were free; all of the apps allowed only tracking of headache episodes and did not gather data on days when no headaches occurred; only 2 apps included the ability to set reminders.

None of the apps met all 7 app criteria. Only 7 of the 38 apps met 4 or more criteria. The apps with the highest quality were iHeadache, ecoHeadache, and Headache Diary Pro – all three met 5 of the 7 app criteria. Only 7 apps were created with clinical and/or scientific headache expertise.

The researchers recognized the limitations of the review (non-validated criteria, etc) but conclude that an increased emphasis needs to be placed on the quality of headache diary apps. The demand for a high-quality, evidence-based headache diary app continues to persist. 

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