Technology, self-tracking and asthma – Part 2: Android Edition

I recently acquired an Android phone from Kat when I was in St. Louis prior to the two of us heading off to Philadelphia to meet the rest of the Asthma.Net and Health-Union teams (an amazing experience and another post entirely!).

It’s been close to a year since I reviewed iOS apps for asthma (iPhone/iPad/iPod), and I figured it was about time to rank available Android apps to the same scale—by the way, I’ve been told by Nick, a developer at Strados Labs, that my app ranking scale has been used in his own app development! How’s that for cool?

My 20 point scale for ranking asthma apps

For a refresher, I rank on a twenty point scale, containing the following:

  • Price: Free [3 points] to $1.99 USD [1 point] (note: All Android apps I reviwed were free)
  • Features: Peak flow logging, graph of peak flows, medication use, triggers, some customization [1 point each]
  • App can be set up within 5 minutes [1 point], entries can be logged in under 2 minutes [1 point]

This means the core scoring is based out of 10. However, I also counted on some bonuses to be present to make the best—or perfect—asthma app (for me—your nerdiness may vary).

Bonus points are allocated for:

FEV1 logging [1 point]; app reminders (annoying or useful – your call) [1 point]; CSV download [1 point]; sync-ability with the cloud/other apps [1 point].

Date most recently updated – amended scale (as I am writing this a year later): Within the last 3 years (April 2014 or later) [2014 = 0 points; 2015 = 1 point; January to August 2016 = 2 points, after August 2016 = 3 points. Simply, I want to raise the bar for apps that are regularly updated.

As with the iOS apps, I excluded apps deleted within a day (or ten minutes most often) of download because they weren’t user friendly (“cumbersome” as I called it in my previous review!). I did continue going through the Google Play Store and didn’t abandon my search like I did with the App Store on iOS (but I don’t think I downloaded anything too far down anyways). And as with the iOS review, my standards are high but not unreasonable if we’re talking useful apps!

Peak Flow 10.5/20

  • Cost: Free [3 points]
  • Features: Peak flow logging, peak flow graph, rescue medication use only.[2.5/5]
  • Ease of Use:Setup No setup.
    Tracking
     Under a minute[2 points]
  • Bonuses: CSV download
    [1 point]
  • Updated: June 13, 2016[2 points]

Lack of trigger and maintenance medication tracking (only logs “before/after medication) and customizability makes this app an okay basic option but likely will not provide much insight into your asthma.

Asthma Tracker & Log (Free) | 13/20
Note: From what I could tell, the only difference between Asthma Tracker (free) and the paid version(s) are ad and multi-user support.

  • Cost: Free [3 points]
  • Features: Peak flow logging, peak flow graph, medication tracking, great customizability[5/5]
  • Ease of Use:
    Setup “Setup” feature makes this customizable app fairly quick to set up, I was under 5 minutes to set up the benchmark of 3 meds I use for these tests, and that was with a good number of errors.
    Tracking
     It took me about a minute to log an entry[2 points]
  • Bonuses: Seamless FEV1 logging [1 point], CSV log (hidden in “email”) [1 point], great stats” feature [0.5 point]; backups saved to SD card [0.5]
    [3 points]
  • Updated: May 29, 2013[0 points]

AsthmaCheck | 9/20

  • Cost: Free
  • Features: Peak flow log, graph of peak flows, medication tracking, very basic symptoms tracking (none, moderate, severe) [0 points awarded][3/5]
  • Ease of Use:Setup Fairly quick to set up, but uses the roller to set numbers rather than typing which is more cumbersome. [0.5 points]
    Tracking
     Entries take about 1-2 minutes to log[1.5 points]
  • Bonuses:
    CSV download [available for 0.99 Euro, just over $1 USD – 0.5 point]; customizable reminders.[1.5 points]
  • Updated: June 15, 2013 [0 points]

AsthmaMD | 15.5/20 (iOS & android)
Note: I reviewed this app for iOS as well, where it received 14.5 points – a November 2016 app update seems to have improved this app by 1 point.

  • Cost: Free [3 points]
  • Features: Peak flow log, peak flow graph, medication use, symptom log, some customization, [5/5]
  • Ease of Use:Setup Took about 5 minutes [1 point] Tracking Entries log under 2 minutes [1 point][2 points]
  • Bonuses: Optional FEV1 and O2 saturation tracking; reminders; own app “cloud” system – as with iOS version, lost 0.5 point for lack of integration.
    [2.5 points]
  • Updated: November 10, 2016[3 points]

When I reviewed the apps available for iOS, I noted 4 apps that were available on iOS only, and still seem to be iOS only apps. Despite that only 1 of the above apps is available for both iOS and Android, there seems to be a lower proportion of decent quality, English language asthma apps on the Google Play store, which is unfortunate given the ease of implementation of home screen widgets for Android, which I think could simplify logging for many users. Despite how it seems just about everybody is making an asthma app, it looks like we’re going to have to keep waiting—great asthma apps, don’t seem to be a “partisan issue” for Android or iOS users – they seem to be lacking all around!
Do you use an android (or iOS) app to track asthma that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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