BACKGROUND: Despite the surge in mobile health (mHealth) applications (apps) about pediatric care in commercial app stores, to our knowledge, reviews of the quality of such apps are lacking. Consequently, it is a great challenge for health care professionals (HCPs) to identify appropriate and reliable mHealth apps for delivering health care services. Thus, we performed a structured review of the extant literature about mHealth apps in pediatric care and quality assessment of selected apps found in commercial app stores.
METHODS: A review and comparison of mHealth apps in pediatric care found in Google's Play Store (Android system) and Apple's App Store (iOS system) were performed. For the structured review of the available literature, Google Scholar, PubMed, IEEE Xplore Digital Library, and Science Direct online databases were used for the literature search. The assessment criteria used for comparison included requirement for Internet connection, size of application, information on disease, diagnostic tools, medical calculator, information on disease treatments, dosage recommendations, and drug interaction checker.
RESULTS: Fifty mHealth apps for general pediatric care and 8 mHealth apps for specific pediatric diseases were discussed in the literature. Of the 90 mHealth apps we reviewed, 27 that fulfilled the study criteria were selected for quality assessment. Medscape, Skyscape, and iGuideline scored the highest (score=7), while PediaBP scored the lowest (score=3).
CONCLUSIONS: Medscape, Skyscape, and iGuideline are the most comprehensive mHealth apps for HCPs as quick references for pediatric care. More studies about mHealth apps in pediatric care are warranted to ensure the quality and reliability of mHealth apps.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.