Assessing the quality of mobile apps for oral health: content analysis and usability
Qari, Alaa Husni
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AIM: To review and characterize dental mobile apps in the peer-reviewed literature and two popular mobile app stores, and assess their quality. METHODS: A scoping review methodology was used to identify different types of mobile dental apps in seven medical and technical databases. The data of the identified research studies on dental apps were extracted (coded) by two researchers in a systematic process and the results were analyzed. Dental apps’ characteristics, publication pattern, development methodology, efficacy, and usability were reported. Then, a systematic review was conducted in Google Play and iOS app stores to identify patient-facing dental apps. Popular keywords were identified from multiple sources such as using Google Trends. Two researchers extracted the information of the identified dental apps and descriptive, and correlation analyses were conducted. Apps were evaluated for the presence of behavior change techniques (BCTs), evidence-based guidelines, technological features, privacy and security, credibility and health literacy. Lastly, a quality assessment using MARS scale was conducted for a selected sample of dental patient-facing apps from the published literature and the popular app stores. RESULTS: The search resulted in 38 studies on dental apps. The identified dental apps (37) targeted multiple users and the common topic was oral pathology such as dental caries. The majority of dental apps was developed for diagnostics and screening purposes (40.5%). Apps included varied features and educational strategies. Only two papers used theories for developing dental apps, and five studies followed user-centered design principles. Fourteen papers only reported the use of clinical guidelines for developing dental apps (36.8%). Mobile app search resulted in 52 patient-facing dental apps (37 Android apps, and 15 iOS apps). The majority of apps focused on Oral Hygiene Behavior (31%). Apps targeted multiple users and contained varied features and BCTs including instructions (80.8%) and credible source (67.3%). Eleven apps were identified for the third project and the highest total MARS score was Philips Sonicare. The app contained the largest number of features compared to other apps (24). CONCLUSION: The dissertation will warrant the selection and prescription of high-quality dental apps, and will advance the research work in mobile apps in dentistry.
RightsAttribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International