Background The number of medical apps has increased exponentially in recent years, with more than 2 30 000 available.
Because of the lack of regulation, some of these apps may offer inaccurate content or may not reach the minimum quality standards in order to be used by healthcare professionals.
Purpose Analyse the availability of drug interaction checker apps for mobile devices and their quality according to the Mobile App Rating Scale (MARS score).
Material and methods Cross-sectional study performed in October 2017 to find and classify the best mobile applications to check drug interactions according to MARS score.
A search was conducted on two major mobile platforms: Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store. The keyword used to identify the initial sample was ‘drug interaction’.
The exclusion criteria were:
No drug searcher available or drug searcher only available for a specific drug class.
No health and fitness or medicine category.
No English language.
Pay subscription app.
Not updated in the last 36 months.
The selected apps were downloaded in a smartphone and in a tablet of both systems in order to be analysed. The app’s quality and reliability was measured by means of MARS. This is an app quality rating tool that provides a measure of different features of health apps. It consists of 19 items clustered in four categories: engagement, functionality, aesthetics and information. Each item is rated in a 1–5 points scale (1-inadequate to 5-excellent).
The degree of agreement between the selected apps was not analysed.
Data collection and statistical analysis were performed in a Google Drive spreadsheet.
Results Of the 139 apps identified, 12 met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The mean MARS score was 3.01 (1.93–4.28). The mean social score was 4.03. The five apps with best MARS score (0–5) were ‘Medscape’ (4. 28), ‘Drugs.com Medication Guide’ (4.08), ‘Pharmacist Pro-Drug Interaction Checker’ (3.61), ‘Pocket Pharmacist’ (3.55) and ‘Assist UK-Drug Interactions’ (3.26).
Conclusion There is a high amount of apps to check drug interactions but only few have enough quality to be used with guarantees by healthcare professionals in their clinical activity.
Reference and/or Acknowledgements 1. Stoyanov SR, et al. Mobile app rating scale: a new tool for assessing the quality of health mobile apps. JMIR mHealth and uHealth2015.
No conflict of interest
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