Validity and reliability of smartphone applications for clinical assessment of the neuromusculoskeletal system

Expert Rev Med Devices. 2017 Jun;14(6):481-493. doi: 10.1080/17434440.2017.1325319. Epub 2017 May 11.


Clinicians increasingly use smartphone medical applications. There is no evidence to support the validity and reliability of applications used to assess the neuromusculoskeletal system. The aim of this study was to systematically review the quality of studies as well as the validity and reliability of using a smartphone as a clinical assessment tool for the neuromusculoskeletal system. Areas covered: PubMed, CINAHL and Embase were searched. A manual search was also conducted. Additionally, forward snowballing of relevant articles was performed in Scopus and Web of Science. Two reviewers independently selected the articles, extracted the data using a standardized form and assessed the articles quality based on a scoring system Expert commentary: Thirty-four articles were found eligible and were categorized into four groups: Range of Motion (ROM), posture and deformity, tremors and reflexes, and gait and mobility. Only the ROM category supported the validity and reliability of using smartphone applications as assessment tools. Regarding quality assessment scores, the articles in ROM and posture and deformity categories ranged from poor to good quality, whereas those in the tremors and reflexes and gait and mobility categories had poor quality.

Keywords: Range of motion; cell phone; gait; mobility; posture.

MeSH terms

  • Gait / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Musculoskeletal Physiological Phenomena*
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena*
  • Posture / physiology
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Reflex / physiology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Smartphone*
  • Tremor / physiopathology