Mobile Health App Database - A Repository for Quality Ratings of mHealth Apps

Ulm University

Presentation at the 33st IEEE International Symposium on Computer-Based Medical Systems (CBMS 2020);

Michael Stach, Rochester, USA, 30 July 2020, 16:00 PM (Virtual Event)

The utilization of mobile technology in the field of medicine and healthcare has become a decisive aspect. The entire field is denoted as mobile health (mHealth). For mHealth, the development and use of mobile applications are crucial. The purposes and goals of mHealth apps, in turn, are manifold. As a consequence, a plethora of mHealth apps can be found in the app stores. Interestingly, for patients, users, and health care providers that consider to use mHealth apps one aspect has been less pursued so far: Systematic and standardized ways that help about the quality of an app or its medical evidence are mainly missing. The Mobile App Rating Scale (MARS) is a standardized instrument that aims at the systematic and comparable evaluation of the quality of mobile health apps as well as categorizing their goals and functions. It comprises 23 items, which are utilized to calculate a rating scale. Having MARS in mind, a database was developed that is called Mobile Health App Database (MHAD). The latter offers technical features to systematically utilize the MARS for researchers as well as clinicians and end-users that (i) want to evaluate apps as well as (ii) want an interactive and easy-to-use web interface that shows the results of the rating procedure. MHAD comprises a rating platform that supports the conduction of MARS ratings and their release process. With the information platform, a web application was developed that prepares the data stored in the rating platform for being freely viewed and studied by users, patients, and health care providers. The goal of MHAD constitutes to be an open science repository that encourages researchers to release their MARS ratings to a broader audience. Such repositories become more and more important in many fields, especially in the field of mHealth.