Mobile apps for people with rheumatoid arthritis lack educational and symptom management features

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arthritis app, arthritis symptoms, arthritis technology, arthritis digestThe majority of mobile apps currently available on iTunes and the Google Play store that are aimed at people with rheumatoid arthritis are not up to scratch, says research in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology. Experts found that in general the apps do not provide both educational information and the ability to track symptoms.

“This study was important because it provides a systematic review of publicly available apps targeted towards people with rheumatoid arthritis,” Dr Yvonne Lee explained to Healio Rheumatology. “It provides clinicians with information on what their patients may be using. It also provides researchers with background information on existing apps and gaps in knowledge in this evolving field.”

Researchers reviewed 20 apps available on iTunes and Google Play. They assessed each app based on four features (basic characteristics, content source, functionality and security). They then recorded frequencies for each feature.

“Guidelines for the evaluation of apps for people with chronic illnesses are lacking,” Dr Lee says. “Areas for growth may include the incorporation of features that enable data sharing and enhanced transparency and security. The clinical significance of our findings is that our patients have access to multiple apps that purport to help them to learn about and/or track their rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. However, little is known about the validity, usability, efficacy and security of these apps.”

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