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Availability and medical professional involvement in mobile healthcare applications related to pathophysiology and pharmacotherapy of HIV/AIDS


Objective The aim of the present work was to identify available mobile healthcare applications related to the pathophysiology and pharmacotherapy of HIV/AIDS and review their characteristics and content, as well as assess the level of involvement of medical professionals in their design.

Methods A descriptive observational study was carried out in May 2013. Smartphone apps related to HIV/AIDS were searched for in the Apple App Store (iOS) and the Google Play Store (Android) by keyword. Data recorded included: name, platform, cost, category, number of ratings, user star rating, number of downloads, date the app was updated by the developer, target audience and whether the app was created from a website. We analysed the content of the applications, and these were then categorised into six groups. We conducted an analysis in which we specifically examined the authorship in order to gauge the prevalence of medical professional involvement in their development and content.

Results A total of 54 apps were included (from 1908 that were identified), among which there were 13 duplicates. Most of these apps were uploaded under the medical category. Seven had ratings <3.9 stars (out of 5). Only 4 apps had exceeded 1000 downloads, with a mean of 100–500 downloads. A total of 15 apps were aimed at health professionals, while 12 focused on patients. We identified 16 applications created from websites. The involvement of health professionals in the development of apps was 48.8%.

Conclusions The current availability of HIV/AIDS applications is limited. Despite the high scores given by users, the number of downloads is low. More than half of the applications do not have the scientific backing of a healthcare professional.

  • HIV
  • AIDS
  • Mobile
  • Applications
  • Pharmacotherapy

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