A review and content analysis of national apps for COVID-19 management using Mobile Application Rating Scale (MARS)

Simin Salehinejad, Sharareh R. Niakan Kalhori, Sadrieh Hajesmaeel Gohari, Kambiz Bahaadinbeigy, Farhad Fatehi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The expansion of mobile health apps for the management of COVID-19 grew exponentially in recent months. However, no study has evaluated these apps. The objective of this study was to develop a reliable measure and rate the quality of COVID-19 mobile health apps, to eventually provide a roadmap for future mHealth app development. In this study, we used COVID-related keywords to identify apps for iOS and Android devices. 13 apps (13.5% of the total number of apps identified) were selected for evaluation. App quality was assessed independently using MARS by two reviewers. Search queries yielded a total of 97 potentially relevant apps, of which 13 met our final inclusion criteria. Kendall’s coefficient of concordance value for the inter-rater agreement was 0.93 (p = .03). COVID-19 GOV PK app had the highest average MARS score (4.7/5), and all of the apps had acceptable MARS scores (> 3.0). This study suggests that most COVID-related apps meet acceptable criteria for quality, content, or functionality, and they must highlight esthetic and interesting features for overall quality improvement to be welcomed by users.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalInformatics for Health and Social Care
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • evaluation
  • mHealth
  • mobile app
  • mobile health

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