University of California San Francisco Fresno Fresno, CA
Sunny Sandhu, MD1, Amitpaul Gill, MD1, Dhuha Alhankawi, MD1, Aalam Sohal, MD1, Marina Roytman, MD2, Thimmaiah Theethira, MD2; 1University of California San Francisco Fresno, Fresno, CA; 2University of California San Francisco, Fresno, CA
Introduction: Celiac disease (CD) affects 3 million people in the US, and it’s lifelong burden requires ongoing patient education. Patients are now turning to technology for education and management. Mobile health applications (apps) have quickly emerged, with over 300,000 healthcare apps developed. Unfortunately, there is no regulation on the quality of mobile health apps, which can impact patient care. We performed a qualitative analysis of mobile apps available for celiac disease patients. Methods: We utilized the Apple Store and Google Play Store and terms “celiac” and “celiac disease” were used to identify apps related to CD. We included patient-oriented apps for self-management and education (figure 1). App contents were characterized (table 1). Quality of the apps was evaluated with Mobile Application Rating Scale (MARS), a reliable tool for rating quality of mobile health apps. We graded health information in apps using DISCERN, a valid tool used to assess quality of written health information. Results: Our search yielded a total of 294 apps on the Google Play Store and 106 apps on the Apple Store. A total of 17 apps met our criteria (Figure 1). Most were free of charge, and they all had a patient education section. The quality was evaluated using their engagement, functionality, aesthetics, and information. Mean rating for all apps was 3.24/5, indicating acceptable app quality. App functionality was the best quality, with a mean score of 3.56. App engagement scoreswere lowest with a mean of 2.83, indicating poor quality. In regards to written health information, the mean DISCERN score was 2.74/5, signifying potentially important or serious shortcomings to the quality of health information. Apps developed by healthcare providers (HCP) had a higher average MARS score (3.62), compared to 2.91 in those developed by non-HCP. DISCERN score in HCP-developed apps was 3.10, compared to 2.49 in non-HCP apps. “My Healthy Gut”, an app developed by HCPs, had the highest quality scores with MARS of 4.28 and DISCERN 3.90. Discussion: Although advancements in technology can improve patient education and self-management, mobile apps are largely unregulated. “My Healthy Gut”, an app developed by HCPs, was the highest quality app in our study. Apps created by HCPs were overall superior. The quality of health information in apps remains an area for improvement. HCPs can serve a big role in shaping future apps which can affect patient care, and we encourage further contribution to their ongoing developments.
Figure 1: Flowchart of application identification, inclusion and exclusion
Table 1: Selected characteristics of mobile applications by store (Apple Store vs. Google Play Store)
Table 2: Mean ratings for all 17 mobile phone applications
Disclosures: Sunny Sandhu indicated no relevant financial relationships. Amitpaul Gill indicated no relevant financial relationships. Dhuha Alhankawi indicated no relevant financial relationships. Aalam Sohal indicated no relevant financial relationships. Marina Roytman indicated no relevant financial relationships. Thimmaiah Theethira indicated no relevant financial relationships.