Table 1

Three overarching principles and 10 points to consider (PTC) for the development, evaluation and implementation of apps to aid self-management among people living with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs)

Overarching principles Agreement (%)
Apps* for self-management support the health, well-being and empowerment of people living with RMDs.100
Apps* require an overarching conceptual framework, which defines the target population and purpose of the app.100
User privacy and safety are fundamental considerations for all apps* aimed at people living with RMDs.100
PtC Oxford level of evidence Strength of statement Level of agreement
Mean (SD)
 1. The information content in self-management apps should be up to date, scientifically justifiable, user acceptable and evidence based where applicable.Level 5D9.8 (0.4)
 2. Apps should be relevant and tailored to the individual needs of people with RMDs.Level 5D9.7 (0.5)
 3. The design, development and validation of self-management apps should involve people with RMDs and relevant healthcare providers.Level 5D9.8 (0.6)
 4. There should be transparency on an app’s developer, funding source, content validation process, version updates and data ownership.Level 5D9.9 (0.3)
 5. Data collection as part of apps must adhere to all applicable regulatory frameworks, particularly data protection.Level 5D9.9 (0.3)
 6. Apps must not result in physical or emotional harm to people with RMDs.Level 5D9.3 (1)
 7. Apps could facilitate patient–healthcare provider communication and contribute to electronic health records or research.Level 5D9.4 (0.9)
 8. App design should consider accessibility of people with RMDs across ages and abilities.Level 5D9.4 (0.9)
 9. If a social network is an important component of an app, structures should be in place to ensure appropriate content moderation.Level 5D9.5 (0.6)
 10. The rheumatology community should consider the cost-benefit balance of apps before endorsement and/or promotion.Level 5D8.9 (1.3)
  • *An app is a small programme that can be downloaded and installed on a mobile device. For the purpose of these PtC, the definition takes a focus on self-management of RMDs.

  • PtC, points to consider.