The Need for Quality Assessment of mHealth Interventions

The Need for Quality Assessment of mHealth Interventions

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3832-6.ch004
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Abstract

With growing numbers of mHealth interventions, there is a need to evaluate the quality of existing apps based on quality assessment criteria that are grounded in published literature and health behavior research. These criteria can help identify the quality of mHealth apps from the perspectives of reliability, feature usefulness and feature convenience. This chapter will discuss the various quality criteria that are relevant for mHealth apps that target drug-related problems, as well as for medication management, through the development of two quality assessment tools. In addition to reliability, usability and privacy criteria, other feature criteria related to tele-monitoring, interaction checkers, dose calculators, medication information provision, medication records, as well as tele-support, tele-collaboration and personalization/contextualization, will be discussed. This chapter aims to provide guidance to mobile app developers, clinicians and patients on the types of quality parameters to consider in apps that are designed for pharmaceutical care and medication management.
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Loy et. al. developed a quality assessment tool for evaluating medical apps that targeted DRPs (Loy, et al., 2016). The quality assessment criteria were developed based on 70 articles from the journal literature and the iMedicalApps website. These criteria were classified into 2 major categories of quality: (i) “appropriateness of the app to serve its intended function”, and (ii) “general quality”. The first category was based on the features of the apps, which could be broadly categorized into 5 categories: monitoring, medication interaction checker, dose calculator, medication information, and medication records. On the other hand, the second category included sections on the reliability, usability, and privacy of apps. The quality assessment tool was developed such that mHealth apps could be rated for their general quality based on a total score of 38 points and assessed for the different features that were listed under the appropriate category. As the number of criteria for each feature varied for different apps, the scores for each section would also vary, and thus the maximum possible score in this section would be different based on the feature(s) evaluated. Table 1 shows the list of criteria for each feature, as well as the general quality criteria used in the quality assessment tool (Loy, et al., 2016).

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