Analysis of Apps With a Medication List Functionality for Older Adults With Heart Failure Using the Mobile App Rating Scale and the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics Functionality Score: Evaluation Study

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

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Abstract

Background: Managing the care of older adults with heart failure (HF) largely centers on medication management. Because of frequent medication or dosing changes, an app that supports these older adults in keeping an up-to-date list of medications could be advantageous. During the COVID-19 pandemic, HF outpatient consultations are taking place virtually or by telephone. An app with the capability to share a patient's medication list with health care professionals before consultation could support clinical efficiency, for example, by 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 aims of this review are twofold: To review apps with a medication list functionality and to assess the quality of the apps included in the review using the Mobile App 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 Store and iTunes App Store. The MARS was used independently by 4 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 iTunes App store searches identified 483 potential apps (292 from Google Play and 191 from iTunes App stores). A total of 6 apps (3 across both stores) met the inclusion criteria. Of the 6 apps, 4 achieved an acceptable MARS score (3/5). The 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). On average, the apps had 8 functions based on the IMS functionality criteria (range 5-11). A total of 2 apps achieved the maximum score for number of features (11 features) according to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics functionality score, and 2 scored the lowest (5 features). Peer-reviewed publications were identified for 3 of the apps. Conclusions: The quality of current apps with medication list functionality varies according to their technical aspects. Most of the apps reviewed have an acceptable MARS objective quality (ie, the overall quality of an app). However, subjective quality (ie, satisfaction with the apps) was poor. Only 3 apps are based on scientific evidence and have been tested previously. A total of 2 apps featured all the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics functionalities, and half did not provide clear instructions on how to enter medication data, did not display vital parameter data in an easy-to-understand format, and did not guide users on how or when to take their medication.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere30674
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Volume9
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Eastern Corridor Medical Engineering Centre, a collaborative research project focusing on improving cardiovascular health. The Eastern Corridor Medical Engineering Centre is funded by the European Union’s Interreg VA Programme, which is managed by the Special European Union Programmes body.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 JMIR Publications. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • mobile app
  • mHealth
  • medication app
  • heart failure
  • mobile app rating scale
  • Heart failure
  • MHealth
  • Mobile App Rating Scale
  • Medication app
  • Mobile app
  • Pandemics
  • Humans
  • COVID-19
  • Heart Failure/drug therapy
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Mobile Applications
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Aged
  • Informatics

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