University of Oulu

Giunti G, Guisado Fernández E, Dorronzoro Zubiete E, Rivera Romero O. Supply and Demand in mHealth Apps for Persons With Multiple Sclerosis: Systematic Search in App Stores and Scoping Literature Review. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 2018;6(5):e10512, DOI: 10.2196/10512

Supply and demand in mHealth apps for persons with multiple sclerosis : systematic search in app stores and scoping literature review

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Author: Giunti, Guido1,2; Fernández, Estefanía Guisado3; Dorronzoro Zubiete, Enrique4;
Organizations: 1Salumedia Tecnologias, Seville, Spain
2University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
4Universidad de Sevilla, Seville, Spain
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: JMIR Publications, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-06-04


Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a non-curable chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system that affects more than 2 million people worldwide. MS-related symptoms impact negatively on the quality of life of persons with MS, who need to be active in the management of their health. mHealth apps could support these patient groups by offering useful tools, providing reliable information, and monitoring symptoms. A previous study from this group identified needs, barriers, and facilitators for the use of mHealth solutions among persons with MS. It is unknown how commercially available health apps meet these needs.

Objective: The main objective of this review was to assess how the features present in MS apps meet the reported needs of persons with MS.

Methods: We followed a combination of scoping review methodology and systematic assessment of features and content of mHealth apps. A search strategy was defined for the two most popular app stores (Google Play and Apple App Store) to identify relevant apps. Reviewers independently conducted a screening process to filter apps according to the selection criteria. Interrater reliability was assessed through the Fleiss-Cohen coefficient (k=.885). Data from the included MS apps were extracted and explored according to classification criteria.

Results: An initial total of 581 potentially relevant apps was found. After removing duplicates and applying inclusion and exclusion criteria, 30 unique apps were included in the study. A similar number of apps was found in both stores. The majority of the apps dealt with disease management and disease and treatment information. Most apps were developed by small and medium-sized enterprises, followed by pharmaceutical companies. Patient education and personal data management were among the most frequently included features in these apps. Energy management and remote monitoring were often not present in MS apps. Very few contained gamification elements.

Conclusions: Currently available MS apps fail to meet the needs and demands of persons with MS. There is a need for health professionals, researchers, and industry partners to collaborate in the design of mHealth solutions for persons with MS to increase adoption and engagement.

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Series: JMIR mHealth and uHealth
ISSN: 2291-5222
ISSN-E: 2291-5222
ISSN-L: 2291-5222
Volume: 6
Issue: 5
Article number: e10512
DOI: 10.2196/10512
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 217 Medical engineering
3111 Biomedicine
3112 Neurosciences
3141 Health care science
318 Medical biotechnology
Funding: GG and EG-F gratefully acknowledge a grant (#676201) for the Connected Health Early-Stage Researcher Support System (CHESS ITN) from the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Commission. ED-Z receives funding and is supported by the V Plan Propio de Investigación de la Universidad de Sevilla, Spain.
EU Grant Number: (676201) CHESS - Connected Health Early Stage Researcher Support System
Copyright information: ©Guido Giunti, Estefanía Guisado Fernández, Enrique Dorronzoro Zubiete, Octavio Rivera Romero. Originally published in JMIR Mhealth and Uhealth (, 23.05.2018. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR mhealth and uhealth, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.