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Clin Chem Lab Med. 2019 Feb 25;57(3):388-397. doi: 10.1515/cclm-2018-0710.

Quality evaluation of smartphone applications for laboratory medicine.

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Center for Medical Biochemistry, Clinical Center of Serbia, Višegradska 26, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia, Phone/Fax: +381 11 361 56 31.
Department for Medical Biochemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia,
Department for Laboratory Medicine, Faculty of Pharmacy, Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Bydgoszcz, Poland.
c/o European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Milan, Italy.


Background Many of the mobile applications (apps) used for delivering health interventions involve laboratory medicine data. This survey was conducted to search the online market for health apps that manage laboratory medicine data. The aim was to review them and perform a quality evaluation. Methods Apps search criteria were "Lab results blood work", "Lab results", and "Health apps". After the stepwise exclusion process, 52 selected apps were downloaded and analyzed. For review and content analysis of the apps, a multidimensional tool for classifying and rating the quality of mobile health apps - Mobile App Rating Scale (MARS), was used. Results Selected apps were classified into five categories according to their intended use by patients or physicians, and the type of data engaged. Spearman's correlation analysis found significant correlations between MARS individual scoring items, as with the subjective quality and number of technical aspects. Kruskal-Wallis analysis showed a significant difference in the number of technical aspects employed, MARS engagement and informational quality score items, total score, and subjective quality. The lowest values for all of these items were in the category of apps designed for patients, and the post hoc test showed that the difference was statistically significant between this and the values in all other categories. Conclusions Apps designed for patients, are of the poorest quality, considering the total quality of the content and information they provide, estimated using the MARS tool. This estimation needs to be validated for laboratory medicine apps, and eventually modified after consideration of specific quality benchmarks.


Mobile App Rating Scale (MARS); app; mobile health application; smartphone

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