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Mobile applications in oncology: is it possible for patients and healthcare professionals to easily identify relevant tools?

, : Mobile applications in oncology: is it possible for patients and healthcare professionals to easily identify relevant tools?. Annals of Medicine 48(7): 509-515

Mobile applications represent promising tools in management of chronic diseases, both for patients and healthcare professionals, and especially in oncology. Among the large number of mobile health (mhealth) applications available in mobile stores, it could be difficult for users to identify the most relevant ones. This study evaluated the business model and the scientific validation for mobile applications related to oncology. A systematic review was performed over the two major marketplaces. Purpose, scientific validation, and source of funding were evaluated according to the description of applications in stores. Results were stratified according to targeted audience (general population/patients/healthcare professionals). Five hundred and thirty-nine applications related to oncology were identified: 46.8% dedicated to healthcare professionals, 31.5% to general population, and 21.7% to patients. A lack of information about healthcare professionals' involvement in the development process was noted since only 36.5% of applications mentioned an obvious scientific validation. Most apps were free (72.2%) and without explicit support by industry (94.2%). There is a need to enforce independent review of mhealth applications in oncology. The economic model could be questioned and the source of funding should be clarified. Meanwhile, patients and healthcare professionals should remain cautious about applications' contents. Key messages A systematic review was performed to describe the mobile applications related to oncology and it revealed a lack of information on scientific validation and funding. Independent scientific review and the reporting of conflicts of interest should be encouraged. Users, and all health professionals, should be aware that health applications, whatever the quality of their content, do not actually embrace such an approach.


PMID: 27348761

DOI: 10.1080/07853890.2016.1195010

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