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International Journal of Telemedicine and Applications
Volume 2013, Article ID 782074, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/782074
Review Article

Smartphone Medical Applications for Women’s Health: What Is the Evidence-Base and Feedback?

School of Healthcare Science, John Dalton East Building, Oxford Road, Manchester M1 5GD, UK

Received 27 June 2013; Revised 2 September 2013; Accepted 24 October 2013

Academic Editor: Trevor Russell

Copyright © 2013 Emma Derbyshire and Darren Dancey. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. Smartphone medical applications have a major role to play in women’s health with their roles being very broad, ranging from improving health behaviours to undertaking personalised tests. Objective(s). Using Medline, Web of Knowledge, and the PRISMA guidelines 15 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were identified, with mobile interventions being tested on 1603 females, in relation to key aspects of health. Using a similar systematic approach an iPhone database search identified 47 applications (apps) developed to improve women’s health. Findings. Ten RCTs used text messaging or app interventions to support weight loss, with significant improvements being observed in eight studies. For other aspects of women’s health RCTs are needed to determine possible health benefits. iPhone store data analysis identified that a substantial number of women’s health apps did not have star ratings or feedback comments (68 and 49 per cent, resp.), raising concerns about their validity. Conclusion. Peer-review systems, supporting statements of evidence, or certification standards would be beneficial in maintaining the quality and credibility of future health-focused apps. Patient groups should also ideally be involved in the development and testing of mobile medical apps.