Content Analysis of Mobile Health Applications on Diabetes Mellitus
Izahar, S and Lean, QY and Hameed, MA and Murugiah, MK and Patel, RP and Al-Worafi, YM and Wong, TW and Ming, LC, Content Analysis of Mobile Health Applications on Diabetes Mellitus, Frontiers in Endocrinology, 8 Article 318. ISSN 1664-2392 (2017) [Refereed Article]
Diabetes self-management offers an opportunity to patients to be actively involved in managing their conditions and modifying lifestyle behaviors to attain positive health outcomes. With the unprecedented growth of mobile technology, smartphone plays a role in supporting diabetes self-management. Nonetheless, selecting appropriate mobile applications (apps) is challenging for patients. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate and compare the contents and features of mobile medical apps for diabetes self-management. Of 346 commercial apps, 16 (16%) and 19 (7.72%) of the diabetes apps found in Apple and Google Play stores, respectively, were included based on the selection criteria and individually scored for the availability of 8 main features of diabetes self-management. The apps supported self-management by offering features such as free installation, less than 50 MB space used, offline use, automated data entry, data export and sharing, educational tool, and advice. Of the 8 evaluated features, only 11 (31.4%) apps had a score of 5 whereas 7 (20%) apps scored the lowest, with a score of 3. The majority of apps were free, required no Internet connectivity to use and were less than 50 MB in size. Our findings showed that the design of diabetes mobile apps focused on reporting and setting reminders, rather than providing personalized education or therapeutic support. In the future, the design of apps could be improved to integrate patientsí needs, usability for disease management, and lifestyle modifications.