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An evidence-based evaluation of mobile health apps for the management of individuals with lateral elbow tendinopathy using a systematic review framework
journal contributionposted on 31.08.2021, 21:36 by Luke HealesLuke Heales, Samantha SwainSamantha Swain, Bill Vicenzino, Brooke K Coombes, Steven ObstSteven Obst
Background: Better access to evidence-based health information via mobile health apps could assist in information sharing, screening for severity/triage, and improving early intervention for individuals with lateral elbow tendinopathy (LET). Objectives: To use a systematic review framework to identify and appraise the utility and quality of mobile health apps for the management of individuals with LET. Methods: Apple iTunes and Google Play stores were searched using key words. Mobile health apps providing information related to the signs and symptoms, pathophysiology, and management of LET were included. The quality of the included apps was appraised by two reviewers using using the Mobile Application Rating Scale (MARS). Narrative synthesis was used to describe the key information from the included apps and compare the information presented to that of current evidence-based practice. Major Findings: Seven mobile health apps were included in this review. The mean score for the MARS quality appraisal was 2.5 out of 5 (range 2.0-4.2), with apps scoring poorly in engagement, information, and the subjective scoring subsections. No apps were validated or used as a part of a clinical trial. Of the 37 individually recommended interventions only eight (22%) were supported by empirical evidence. No apps screened individuals for condition severity or used patient inputted data for individualisation of information. Conclusion: A majority of currently available health apps for LET lack empirical evidence to support the information they provide. Future apps could include a data collection and screening process to help guide appropriate management.