Background: Mobile health (mHealth) apps have played an important role in mitigating the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response. However, there is no resource that provides a holistic picture of the available mHealth apps that have been developed to combat this pandemic.
Objective: Our aim is to scope the evidence base on apps that were developed in response to COVID-19.
Methods: Following the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines for scoping reviews, literature searches were conducted on Google Search, Google Scholar, and PubMed using the country's name as keywords and "coronavirus," "COVID-19," "nCOV19," "contact tracing," "information providing apps," "symptom tracking," "mobile apps," "mobile applications," "smartphone," "mobile phone," and "mHealth." Countries most affected by COVID-19 and those that first rolled out COVID-19-related apps were included.
Results: A total of 46 articles were reviewed from 19 countries, resulting in a total of 29 apps. Among them, 15 (52%) apps were on contact tracing, 7 (24%) apps on quarantine, 7 (24%) on symptom monitoring, and 1 (3%) on information provision. More than half (n=20, 69%) were from governmental sources, only 3 (10%) were from private organizations, and 3 (10%) from universities. There were 6 (21%) apps available on either Android or iOS, and 10 (34%) were available on both platforms. Bluetooth was used in 10 (34%) apps for collecting data, 12 (41%) apps used GPS, and 12 (41%) used other forms of data collection.
Conclusions: This review identifies that the majority of COVID-19 apps were for contact tracing and symptom monitoring. However, these apps are effective only if taken up by the community. The sharing of good practices across different countries can enable governments to learn from each other and develop effective strategies to combat and manage this pandemic.
Keywords: COVID-19; contact tracing; information provision; mHealth; mobile apps; mobile health; symptom monitoring.
©Hanson John Leon Singh, Danielle Couch, Kevin Yap. Originally published in JMIR Nursing Informatics (https://nursing.jmir.org), 06.08.2020.