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Apps to support self-management for people with hypertension: content analysis

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    Rights statement: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), 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 http://mhealth.jmir.org/, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

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Original languageEnglish
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2019

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Home blood pressure monitoring (HBPM) is one component of effective supported self-management, which may potentially be mediated by mobile apps.OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to identify the self-management features (HBPM and broader support strategies) offered by currently available apps and to determine the features associated with download frequency and user ratings.
METHODS: We searched Google Play store, Apple App store, National Health Services Apps Library and myhealthapps.net (first search on February 1, 2018; updated August 18, 2018). We included high blood pressure apps available in the United Kingdom and extracted their features, number of downloads, and the average users' rating from the app stores. We mapped the features to the holistic Practical Reviews In Self-Management Support (PRISMS) taxonomy of self-management support. We employed a regression analysis to determine if any features were associated with download frequency or user rating.
RESULTS: We included 151 apps. The 3 most common features were as follows: monitoring blood pressure (BP) and charting logs; lifestyle (exercise or dietary) advice; and providing information about hypertension. The other 11 components of the PRISMS taxonomy were rarely featured. There was little evidence to support associations between specific features and the download statistics and rating scores, with only 2 uncommon features achieving borderline significant associations. The presence of social support features, such as a forum, was weakly but significantly (R2=.04, P=.02) correlated with the number of downloads. Apps designed specifically for particular BP monitors/smart watches were weakly associated with a higher rating score (R2=.05, P<.001). Apps with more ratings were associated with more downloads (R2=.91, P<.001).
CONCLUSIONS: The functionality of currently available apps is limited to logging BP, offering lifestyle advice, and providing information about hypertension. Future app development should consider broadening the remit to produce a system that can respond flexibly to the diversity of support that enables people to self-manage their hypertension

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