Understanding the evaluation of mHealth app features based on a cross-country Kano analysis

Electron Mark. 2021;31(4):765-794. doi: 10.1007/s12525-020-00455-y. Epub 2021 Mar 24.


While mobile health (mHealth) apps play an increasingly important role in digitalized health care, little is known regarding the effects of specific mHealth app features on user satisfaction across different healthcare system contexts. Using personal health record (PHR) apps as an example, this study identifies how potential users in Germany and Denmark evaluate a set of 26 app features, and whether evaluation differences can be explained by the differences in four pertinent user characteristics, namely privacy concerns, mHealth literacy, mHealth self-efficacy, and adult playfulness. Based on survey data from both countries, we employed the Kano method to evaluate PHR features and applied a quartile-based sample-split approach to understand the underlying relationships between user characteristics and their perceptions of features. Our results not only reveal significant differences in 14 of the features between Germans and Danes, they also demonstrate which of the user characteristics best explain each of these differences. Our two key contributions are, first, to explain the evaluation of specific PHR app features on user satisfaction in two different healthcare contexts and, second, to demonstrate how to extend the Kano method in terms of explaining subgroup differences through user characteristic antecedents. The implications for app providers and policymakers are discussed.

Keywords: Adult playfulness; Kano model; Personal health record; Privacy concerns; mHealth literacy; mHealth self-efficacy.