Background Smartphone applications have been increased efficiency within health practice. However, recent concerns regarding quality of content and regulation have been raised.
Purpose To describe the characteristics and content of mobile applications related to multiple sclerosis (MS), as well as assess the level of participation of health professionals (HP) in their development.
Material and methods A descriptive observational study was carried out during August 2014. Smartphone applications specifically relating to MS were searched for using a keyword search with the term “MS” in the Apple App Store (iOS) and the Google Play Store (Android).
Data recorded for every applications included: name, platform, cost, category, user star rating, number of downloads (available for Android only), updated date and target audience.
The applications were analysed and categorised based on the information content into four groups: (1) diagnosis and management, (2) general information, (3) news, (4) tracking. Besides, we specifically examined the authorship in order to assess the prevalence of HP participation in their development.
Results Twenty-one applications were identified for Android, 22 apps for iOS, among which there were 12 duplicates. Most of these applications were free of charge (83.8%) and uploaded under the medical category (51.6%).
A total of 23 had customer satisfaction ratings; nine with <3.9 stars (out of 5). The highest rated application was “Multiple sclerosis @Point of care”. Eleven applications had exceeded 1,000 downloads. The most downloaded application was “MS Diagnosis and Management”. 64.5% had been updated in the last year. A total of 15 applications were aimed at patients, while 11 focused on HP (five for both of them).
Eight applications included information about diagnosis and management; four, general information; ten, news and nine, tracking. The participation of HP in the development of applications was 54.8%.
Conclusion Almost half of the applications do not have the scientific backing of a HP so they should be certificated.
Evid Based Med 2013;18(3):90–2
ReferenceNo conflict of interest.
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