Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Comprehensive Analysis of Quality Assessment Systems for mHealth Apps

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With the exponential rise in the number of mobile health (mHealth) applications, the need for reliable quality assessment and assurance systems has become paramount. This scoping review collates existing literature on various tools designed to evaluate the quality of these apps, aiming to overcome prevalent issues such as validity, usability, and data security. The study aggregates the components of these tools to identify overarching quality dimensions essential for ongoing quality evaluations of mHealth applications.

Methodology

The researchers conducted thorough literature searches in databases like Medline, EMBASE, and PsycInfo, including studies in English and German that discussed the development, application, or validation of quality assessment or assurance concepts for mHealth apps. Two researchers independently screened and extracted data, identifying and clustering quality criteria into specific dimensions.

Research Findings

Seventy publications met the inclusion criteria, encompassing five quality assurance systems and 24 quality assessment tools for mHealth apps. Among these, eight were tailored for specific diseases, sixteen for general health fields, and five were not limited to health apps. The study identified and categorized quality criteria into 14 dimensions, including information transparency, validity, medical safety, interoperability, engagement, and data privacy, among others.

The review highlights that many tools cover only a limited number of dimensions, thus lacking comprehensive quality assessments. This finding underscores the need for developing more holistic continuous quality assurance systems for mHealth applications.

Concrete Inferences for Users

– Users should prioritize mHealth apps that disclose comprehensive information and maintain transparency.
– Apps that have undergone rigorous validation and demonstrate added value are more likely to be reliable.
– Choose applications that ensure robust data privacy and security measures.
– Usability and design should be user-friendly to encourage consistent usage.
– Interoperability and compatibility with other health systems can enhance the app’s effectiveness.

In conclusion, this review provides a substantial foundation for improving quality assessment and assurance systems for mHealth apps. By identifying and categorizing essential quality dimensions, the study offers a pathway to more comprehensive evaluations, ultimately contributing to the development of more reliable and effective mHealth applications.

Original Article: Front Health Serv. 2024 May 1;4:1372871. doi: 10.3389/frhs.2024.1372871. eCollection 2024.

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