An Analysis of Apps with a Medication List Functionality for Older Adults with Heart Failure: Evaluation using the Mobile Application Rating Scale (MARS) and the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics Functionality Score

Yohanca Diaz-Skeete, David McQuaid, Adewale Akinosun, Idongesit Ekerete, Natacha Carragher, Lucia Carragher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Managing the care of older patients with heart failure (HF) largely centres on medication management. Due to their frequent medication or dosing changes, an app supporting them to keep an up-to-date list of medication could be advantageous. During COVID-19 times, HF outpatients’ consultations are taking place virtually or by phone. An app with the capability to share the medication list with healthcare professionals before consultation could support the clinic efficiency, for example, reducing consultation time. However, the influence of apps on maintaining an up to date medication history for older adults with HF in Ireland remains largely unexplored. Objective: The objectives of this review are twofold: to review apps with a medication list functionality and to evaluate the quality of the apps included in the review using the Mobile Application Rating Scale (MARS) and the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics functionality scale. Methods: A systematic search of apps was conducted in June 2019 using the Google Play StoreTM and iTunes App StoreTM. The MARS was used independently by four researchers to assess the quality of the apps using an Android phone and an iPad. Apps were also evaluated using the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics functionality score. Results: Google play and iOS app stores searches identified 483 potential apps (292 from Android stores and 191 from Apple stores). Six apps met the inclusion criteria. Medisafe app had the highest overall MARS score (4/5) and the medication list & medical records app had the lowest overall score (2.5/5). Five out of the six apps achieved an acceptable quality MARS score (>3.0). Two apps scored the maximum number of features (n=11) according to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics functionality score and two scored the lowest (n=5). The apps had on average 8 functions based on the IMS functionality criteria (range 5 to 11). Conclusions: The quality of current apps with a medication list functionality varies regarding their technical aspects. Most of the apps reviewed have an acceptable MARS objective quality. However, the subjective quality or satisfaction with the apps was poor. Only three apps are based on scientific evidence and have been previously tested. Two apps featured all the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics functionalities and half do not provide clear instructions on how to enter medication data, do not display vital parameters data in an easy to understand format and do not guide users on how or when to take their medication.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 Jul 2021

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