A Systematic Review of Smartphone Applications Available for Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID19) and the Assessment of their Quality Using the Mobile Application Rating Scale (MARS)

J Med Syst. 2020 Aug 10;44(9):164. doi: 10.1007/s10916-020-01633-3.

Abstract

The global impact of COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rapid development and utilization of mobile health applications. These are addressing the unmet needs of healthcare and public health system including contact tracing, health information dissemination, symptom checking and providing tools for training healthcare providers. Here we provide an overview of mobile applications being currently utilized for COVID-19 and their assessment using the Mobile Application Rating Scale. We performed a systematic review of the literature and mobile platforms to assess mobile applications currently utilized for COVID-19, and a quality assessment of these applications using the Mobile Application Rating Scale (MARS) for overall quality, Engagement, Functionality, Aesthetics, and Information. Finally, we provide an overview of the key salient features that should be included in mobile applications being developed for future use. Our search identified 63 apps that are currently being used for COVID-19. Of these, 25 were selected from the Google play store and Apple App store in India, and 19 each from the UK and US. 18 apps were developed for sharing up to date information on COVID-19, and 8 were used for contact tracing while 9 apps showed features of both. On MARS Scale, overall scores ranged from 2.4 to 4.8 with apps scoring high in areas of functionality and lower in Engagement. Future steps should involve developing and testing of mobile applications using assessment tools like the MARS scale and the study of their impact on health behaviours and outcomes.

Keywords: COVID-19; Contact tracing; Mobile application rating scale; Pandemic; Smartphone application.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods
  • Mobile Applications / standards*
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Smartphone / standards*
  • Telemedicine / standards*