5 Best Symptom Checker Apps for Patients in 2021 – Checked by Independent Doctors

by | ACTIVE LIVING, COVID19, MEDICAL INNOVATION

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We looked at the 5 best symptom checker apps that scored highest among tests from a team of independent doctors and the features they offer. As a result, we found, all the apps use a Chatbot– AI technology that asks questions about your symptoms and spits out suggestions about possible conditions, treatment, and urgency.

Do you feel something’s not right and don’t have the time to make an appointment with a doctor? What’s more, you may even hesitant about visiting a clinic with the risk of catching something, even worried about COVID-19 symptoms.

Firstly, you’re not alone, and that’s why many in the same boat are turning to symptom checker apps for possible medical conditions, and demand has grown more than ever. As a result, with so many symptom checkers on the market, you may be wondering which apps are trustworthy?

Can you trust an algorithm to give you the correct answer about your health? Also, you may have privacy concerns about who has access to your data.


What To Expect From A Symptom Checker App For Patients


Not all symptom checkers are equal, and few, if any, are approved by the FDA or your local health authority. What’s more, many don’t know that in the US, a medical app for diagnosis or used in conjunction with a medical device must have FDA approval. That’s why symptom assessment apps state they do not provide a diagnosis and commit you to that understanding.

For this reason, an app that answers your symptoms is not a substitute for direct consultation with a qualified medical professional.


Essential Features To Look For In A Symptom Checker App


An independent team of doctors carried out a vignette study on symptom assessment apps and reported their research in the British Medical Journal. For this purpose, the study measured the apps against three criteria– Coverage, Accuracy, and Urgency. For which, we’ll get into each apps’ score later.


Coverage of Medical Conditions


The study tested doctors as a benchmark, accounting for all the possible medical conditions, for symptoms, with a score of 100%. Researchers also tested apps to see if they listed all the medical conditions the doctors diagnosed. The top app scored 99.0% for coverage. The app with the lowest range scored 51.5%.


Accuracy of Medical Conditions

Beyond listing all the possible medical conditions, researchers also tested doctors for accuracy, and they scored 82.1%.
The highest accuracy score for apps was 70.5%. The lowest score was 23.5%, showing a vast difference among the apps. Furthermore, there’s no substitute for a doctor.


The urgency of Medical Conditions

The third criterion tested the urgency in seeking medical advice. Doctors scored 97.0%. In contrast, the top app scored the same, and the lowest app scored 80.0%, with one app that didn’t address urgency at all.


Additional Symptom Assessment App Services and Features


All of the symptom checker apps ask your age and gender. Some ask about your lifestyle and general health– whether you smoke, suffer from diabetes, or have high blood pressure.


Some apps only check symptoms, offer possible medical conditions and suggestions for treatment. By comparison, other apps focus heavily on providing medical information, news, tips, and even joining a community of patients with similar conditions. However, certain apps will offer to put you in contact with an online doctor for a fee or subscription.


For a free app with only a symptom checking service, you may want to consider how they make their money, as the app likely sells your data to third parties.


Apps that offer to put you in contact with a doctor are more transparent about their services and furthermore, stress that your information will not be sold to third parties, used only for improving the service.


The 5 Best Symptom Checker Apps For Patients


Below are the five best symptom checker apps sorted by rating for medical criteria using AI, not by available features. With this in mind, If you’re looking for an online doctor, note the apps that provide that service.

Symptom Checker Apps in order of AI Medical Rating

AI Rank Provider Features User Rating Test Score Link
1 Ada Health Symptom Checker 4.7 88.3% More
2 Buoy Health Symptom Checker & Referral 4.5 70.5% More
3 Mediktor Health Symptom Checker & Tele-med 3.7 67.9% More
4 WebMD Health Symptom Checker & Advice 4.4 64.3% More
5 K Health Symptom Checker & Tele-med 4.0 63.9% More

Let’s dive into each app and look at their test scores, how they work, and their pros and cons.

1. Ada – Symptom Cheker App

Ada symptom checker app

Firstly, Ada that’s taken the market by storm. Developed in Germany, the medical symptom assessment app has over 10 million subscribers and a 4.7 user rating. What’s more, the app is available in 7 languages running on iOS and Android.

Secondly, with the help of 50 in-house medical experts and AI software engineers, the symptom assessment app scores top marks for its medical coverage and accuracy among health professionals. Accordingly, Ada prides itself on an updated comprehensive medical library available on the app.

The app asks for a series of GDPR data consents. However, be in no doubt, Ada will use your data at their discretion.

The chatbot systematically asks questions about your symptoms, starting with the basics– age, gender, and birth date. It also asks underlying health-related questions– ‘Are you a smoker?’, ‘Have you been diagnosed with high blood pressure?’, and ‘Do you have diabetes?

You can answer Yes, No, or I’m not sure. The questions are thorough, covering multiple symptoms. Consequently, with relative speed, the result is three possible causes, and red highlights if you need to seek medical advice.

The interface is clean, professional, simple to follow, and easy to understand. What’s more, Ada is thorough, with detailed explanations about each possible cause.

How Ada Works

 

  1. Download the app to your phone
  2. Register your email
  3. Give GDPR consent
  4. Provide optional data consent
  5. The app asks base-line demographic & health questions
  6. Enter your symptoms
  7. Answer the chatbot questions
  8. Receive a detailed result with three possible causes

 

 

Test Scores & Notable things about Ada

Out of all the apps covered by the UK’s British Medical Journal, Ada placed first in its coverage of medical conditions, scoring 99.0%. Ada also scored highest on symptom accuracy with 70.5%, compared to 82.0% achieved by real-life doctors.

Ada manages your data under the European GDPR data protection laws. However, you should consider where Ada is passing your data.

As a free service, Ada must be making money somehow. Selling data is a lucrative business.  

Overall, Ada shows professionalism and reliability, offering the highest score for symptom assessment but cannot replace consultation with a health professional.

ADA Pros & Cons

Pros

  • User friendly and easy to use
  • Operates internationally
  • Comprehensive updated medical library
  • A systematic approach to assessment
  • Top score in symptom assessment
  • Subscription Free

Cons

  • Questionable use of your data

See if Ada is right for you  Go To Ada


Buoy Health

2. Buoy Health – Symptom Checker App & Referral

Buoy symptom checker app

Wanting to create a bridge between patients and doctors, Andrew Le, from Harvard Medical School, founded Buoy health with the help of young software engineers. Consequently, they created a medical symptom assessment service, which is available via the website and for app download from the US iOS store.

The friendly chatbot asks symptom questions using AI algorithms connected to a medical database. As a result, the app offers three possible causes for your medical condition, treatment recommendations, and which options make the most financial sense.

Most apps work with a decision tree to proceed towards possible causes of your symptoms. However, Buoy uses statistics together with the patient’s unique circumstances to prioritize medical conditions.

The app searches its medical database, adapting its forecast, unique for each patient replying to each successive question. Accordingly, the system learns as it goes along.

The app’s interface is clean, simple, user-friendly, and easy to understand.

How Buoy Health Works

  1. Go to the Buoy website 
  2. Receive three possible causes
  3. Buoy suggests treatment options relative to your medical coverage
  4. Allow Buoy to check back on your progress
  5. Receive access to the buoy community

Test Scores & Notable things about Buoy

As a relatively new system, Buoy is learning, and for this reason, it placed second in the test with 88.5% for coverage of possible medical conditions, 43.0% for accuracy, and 80.0% for urgency.

However, you should consider your privacy rights. By signing up to Buoy, it appears you give away all your rights of data to third-party health insurers and providers. You may want to consider that before engagement. 

Overall, Buoy appears professional, easy to use, with relatively good coverage of possible medical conditions, but you should use the service in consultation with a health professional.

Buoy Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Clean interface and simple to use
  • Intelligent symptom assessment
  • Broad Symptom Coverage
  • Recommendations for s treatment & referrals
  • Checks insurance coverage for treatment (US)
  • Dedicated COVID-19 screener (for business)
  • Subscription Free

Cons

  • Limited accuracy
  • Questionable Information Privacy

See if Buoy is right for you Go To Buoy Health


Mediktor Health

3. Mediktor – Syptom Checker App & Tele-med

Mediktor Sympom Checker App

Mediktor’s homepage opening gambit is ‘the most accurate AI-based medical assistant for triage, prediagnosis and decision-making support.’

Considering it scored third overall on a test by independent doctors for symptom assessment apps, that’s quite a statement. Mediktor continues with ‘The only app that is clinically validated.’

However, the question is, beyond the accuracy of those statements, is Mediktor an app you can rely on for answers to your symptoms?

In support of their claims, Mediktor operates in 180 countries and has a heavy focus on COVID-19 assessment, with the service available on the website and mobile apps.

Mediktor offers consultation with an online doctor. It also provides a Chatbot symptom assessment service that does an excellent job of using checkbox questions quickly. In fact, it even adds friendly emojis to describe your level of pain.

Remarkably, Mediktor is the only app to ask if you are male, female, or non-binary. No offense if you claim the latter. However, the question begs, what happens in gender-related medical conditions, such as pregnancy, periods, Turner syndrome, Rett syndrome, or ovarian and cervical cancers?

Mediktor takes a more hands-on approach and asks if you can take your blood pressure. What’s more, if you can’t, it asks about your location for recommendations.

Further, the app is thorough in symptom analysis, with detailed specifics on pain location with multiple-choice diagrams.

The results offer three suggestions, along with urgency. Also, a standout feature is putting you in direct contact with online medical professionals for a small fee. 

How Mediktor Works

  1. Download the app and register
  2. Alternatively, use the website without registration
  3. Give GDPR consent for your data
  4. The app asks base-line demographic questions
  5. Follow a series of comprehensive symptom questions
  6. Get results with three possible causes

Test Scores & Notable things about Mediktor

Mediktor placed third on app tests with 80.5% on condition coverage, 36.0% on symptom accuracy, and 87.3% for the treatment’s urgency.

Mediktor abides by GDPR data protection rules, giving you the right to access the information they store. But it is uncertain how they use your data. For instance, it collects data related to the spread of COVID-19. However, the business model earns revenue from consultations with doctors.

For this reason, any deficiencies in chatbot coverage and accuracies Mediktor mitigates by offering consultation with a validated doctor.

Mediktor Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Consultation service with online doctors
  • Clinical validation
  • A detailed approach to symptom assessment
  • Visual illustrations
  • Scores well in coverage and urgency
  • Free chatbot symptom assessment
  • COVID-19 maps

Cons

  • Scored lower on symptom accuracy
  • Questionable use of your private information

See if Mediktor is right for you Go To Mediktor


WebMD Health

4. WebMD Symptom Checker App & Advice

WebMD symptom checker app

WebMD is probably one of the most popular and trusted medical advisory sites, with medical news and a resource-rich online platform, especially if you want information about COVID-19.

The app is available for download on iOS and Android and reflects the website’s model, including a symptom checker.

You don’t have to register to check your symptoms, and WebMD scores a 4.4 app user rating, better than other apps, but not the highest.

Besides a symptom checker, WebMD also offers health tools– a BMI calculator, Calorie Counters, a low-cost drug finder, ovulation, and due date calculators. Furthermore, WebMD has other apps for specific groups and medical issues.

The app asks your age and gender and immediately about your symptoms. To illustrate this, the app disisplays an interactive anatomy diagram (non-binary) to click your condition’s location and symptom lookup tables.

Some of the terminologies may require going to medical school– do you know what subacromial bursal tenderness is? But there are plenty of more common symptom descriptions, such as a ‘lump on the shoulder.’

The interface is excellent. What’s more, you can add as many symptoms as desired to a list, and edit, if you change your mind. The app will update the result’s strength as you add more symptoms.

WebMD is well-thought-out, taking a different approach, displaying the stage you’re at, and ending with your condition details and suggestions for treatment, for instance.

In contrast, the app asks your opinion about which condition you think is likely. It will also provide Risk Factors and suggestions for treatment, advising consultation with a doctor, if need be. 

How WebMD Works

  1. Access the app on the website
  2. Alternatively, download the mobile app
  3. Answer basic gender-age questions
  4. Add your symptoms to a list
  5. Choose from a list of medical conditions
  6. Get suggestions for treatment and consultation

Test Scores & Notable things about WebMD

Tests revealed WebMD scored 93.0% in possible medical conditions, ranking second-highest, but only 35.5% on symptom accuracy. The test could not examine urgency, as WebMD’s orientation is information resources.

As a US company, GDPR data protection rules don’t apply. However, the company is transparent about the information you submit to their services.

The service encourages consultation with medical professionals. Furthermore, the company has won several awards for medical journalism, connecting people with community programs, and providing reliable general health advice.

WebMD Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Excellent user interface
  • Interactive symptom assessment
  • Easy-to-use visual aids
  • Solid coverage of medical conditions
  • Comprehensive medical news and information
  • Abundant information about COVID-19
  • Free service without registration

Cons

  • Scored lower on chatbot symptom accuracy


K Health

5. K Health – Symptom Checker App & Tele-Med

K-Health symptom checker app

Claiming ‘The #1 most downloaded medical app in the US.’ Let’s take the K Health symptom assessment app for a spin.

First off, the business model is different from other symptom checker apps, focusing on Tele-Med services. The company has 100+ online doctors ready to consult.

Secondly, for a relatively small fee, you can opt for a one-time ‘urgent visit.’ Alternatively, you can subscribe for an even lower-cost monthly fee; both require registration.

The service also includes a symptom checker app free and available for download on iOS and Android. The app’s current user rating is 4.0.

Once downloaded, asking the basics, name, gender, and age, the app lists your answers as you engage with ‘K,’ a chatbot. As a first response, K will boast of ‘anonymizing several million people with your age and sex and will be comparing your symptoms to theirs.’ For laypeople, that sounds painful, and one hopes they’ll be gentle.

Right off the bat, K asks for your email address, explaining you can use it to log in and review your medical history.

Once you’re in, the app soon offers interactive diagrams so you can point to where it hurts, with checkbox lists to describe your symptom and degree of pain.

The app also gives several possible conditions with their probability percentage and urgency of treatment. It also indicates how long each condition takes to treat, from several days to health issues that affect a lifetime.

How K Health Works

  1. Use the website to register
  2. Alternatively, download the mobile symptom checker
  3. Choose chat with a doctor or use the symptom checker
  4. Answer basic gender-age questions
  5. Add your email address
  6. Add your symptoms to a list
  7. Get suggestions for treatment and consultation

Test Scores & Notable things about K Health

On the app assessment test, K Health scored 74.5% for medical condition coverage, 36.0% on symptom accuracy, and 81.3% on treatment urgency, in comparison to the four other apps, of which it came last

K Health abides by GDPR data protection rules. The privacy policy is adapted to where you live, as local regulations differ. Accordingly, K Health is adamant about only using your data to improve their services, stating ‘we will not sell your personal information to anyone.’ That’s refreshing to learn.

Aware of chatbot limitations in giving relevant answers to symptoms, K Health’s priority is Tele-Med with medical professionals. Hence, their symptom assessment app is a supportive tool.

K Health Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Tele-Med with a doctor online
  • Low-cost consultation subscriptions
  • Free, user-friendly symptom assessment app
  • Includes visual aids
  • Good coverage of medical conditions
  • High urgency score for seeing a medical professional
  • Priority on patient data privacy
  • Free app subscription

Cons

  • Scored lower on chatbot symptom accuracy

See if K Health is right for you Go To K Health

In conclusion, whichever app you choose to check your symptoms, make sure you consult with a doctor for professional advice and consider how the app uses your data when giving away your private information to a machine.

Tell us about your experience and which app suits your needs?

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