Systematic evaluation of smartphone applications for the medical management of nephrolithiasis.

To comprehensively evaluate the quality of patient-oriented mobile health applications (apps) available for the medical management of kidney stone disease (KSD).

A systematic search was performed to identify apps from the Apple and Google Play app stores.

Eligible apps were divided into two categories: (1) fluid apps and (2) dietary apps. Descriptive characteristics were summarized and app quality was independently evaluated on the basis of technical quality, usability, clinical value, and privacy/security. The validated Mobile App Rating Scale (MARS) was the backbone for the evaluation framework.

In total, 31 apps (18 fluid and 13 dietary) were included. Fluid apps outscore dietary apps in all dimensions of MARS quality. All but on fluid app exceed the minimum acceptable MARS score of 3.0, versus 46% of dietary management apps. Dietary apps feature less functionality and most are limited to non-interactive informational content. While most data capturing apps provide a privacy policy and ensure security measures are taken to protect user identity, only 36% offer users choice or consent over secondary uses of their data after data has been already been collected. Overall, only one app has undergone any form of real-world clinical investigation.

Fluid management apps outperform dietary apps in technical quality, usability, and clinical value at the cost of greater privacy/security risks. Despite not being targeted to patients with KSD, they are higher in most quality measures and offer greater functionality to support long-term disease management compared to dietary apps.

Journal of endourology. 2020 Nov 19 [Epub ahead of print]

Jared S Winoker, Kevin Koo, Mitchell M Huang, Yasin Bhanji, Brian Matlaga

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1500, 600 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD, Baltimore, Maryland, United States, 21205-2105; ., Mayo Clinic, 6915, 200 First St SW, Rochester, Minnesota, United States, 55905; ., Johns Hopkins University, 1466, Baltimore, Maryland, United States; ., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1500, Baltimore, Maryland, United States; ., Johns Hopkins University, Brady Urological Institute, Baltimore, Maryland, United States; .

Go Beyond the Abstract and Read a Commentary by the Author

email news signup