Quality Assessment of Digital Health Applications : Protocol for a Scoping Review

Background: All over the world, development and usage of mobile health (mHealth) apps is increasing. While apps offer numerous opportunities to improve health care, there are associated problems that differ significantly from those of traditional health care services. Further investigations on the quality of mHealth apps are needed to address these problems.

Objective: This study aims to identify and map research on quality assessment and quality assurance of mHealth apps and their transferability to continuous quality assurance of mHealth apps.

Methods: The scoping review will follow published methodological frameworks for scoping studies as well as Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews criteria. Electronic databases (Medline, EMBASE, and PsycINFO), reference lists of relevant articles, and websites of relevant institutions will be searched. Two reviewers will independently assess eligibility of articles. Therefore, a 2-stage (title and abstract, followed by full text) screening process was conducted. Quality management systems and quality assessment tools will be analyzed and included in our review. Particular focus is placed on quality dimensions.

Results: This scoping review provides an overview of the available evidence and identifies research gaps regarding continuous quality assessment of mHealth apps. Thereby, relevant quality dimensions and criteria can be identified and their eligibility and relevance for the development of a continuous quality assurance system of mHealth apps can be determined. Our results are planned to be submitted to an indexed, peer-reviewed journal in the second half of 2022.

Conclusions: This is the first review in the context of continuous quality assurance of mHealth apps. Our results will be used within the research "Continuous quality assurance of Digital Health Applications" ("QuaSiApps") project funded by the German Federal Joint Committee.


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