Background Mobile health applications (apps) are available to enable people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) to better self-manage their health. However, guidance on the development and evaluation of such apps is lacking.
Objectives The objective of this EULAR task force was to establish points to consider (PtC) for the development, evaluation and implementation of apps for self-management of RMDs.
Methods A systematic literature review of app content and development strategies was conducted, followed by patient focus group and an online survey. Based on this information and along with task force expert opinion, PtC were formulated in a face-to-face meeting by a multidisciplinary task force panel of experts, including two patient research partners. The level of agreement among the panel in regard to each PtC was established by anonymous online voting.
Results Three overarching principles and 10 PtC were formulated. Three PtC are related to patient safety, considered as a critical issue by the panel. Three are related to relevance of the content and functionalities. The requirement for transparency around app development and funding sources, along with involvement of relevant health professionals, were also raised. Ease of app access across ages and abilities was highlighted, in addition to considering the cost benefit of apps from the outset. The level of agreement was from 8.8 to 9.9 out of 10.
Conclusion These EULAR PtC provide guidance on important aspects that should be considered for the development, evaluation and implementation of existing and new apps.
- mobile health applications
- rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases
- Points to consider
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LG and FB are joint senior authors.
Contributors AN, EN, LG and FB participated to the study design, the data analysis, the task force meeting and the manuscript redaction. All the authors contributed to the data analysis, the task force meeting and the manuscript redaction.
Funding This project was funded by EULAR (project number CLI102).
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request.
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