Only 20% of mobile dermatology apps designed for patients may be worthwhile, shows an analysis published in February in the online journal Cutis.
The analysis included 44 mobile apps available in the Apple App Store. The apps were ranked between 5 and 20 in terms of overall quality, but only nine (20.5%) fell between 16 and 19, and none reached 20, “which indicates a need for improvements in mobile dermatology apps intended for patient education,” the authors wrote.
Apps that scored in the 5-10 range were described as “not thought to be useful and may even be detrimental to patients.” Those that scored between 11-15 “may be used for patient education with some reservations based on short-comings for certain criteria.” Apps that scored between 16-20 were described as “valuable and adequate for patient education."
The analysis included apps that were available in the store between January-November 2016 and focused on one of the following: general dermatology, cosmetic dermatology, acne, eczema, psoriasis and skin cancer. Apps whose sole focus was promotional, were excluded, as were apps of medical journals or educational apps intended for healthcare professionals.
“The number of dermatology-related apps available to mobile users continues to grow at an increasing rate. It is necessary to create a systematic way to evaluate the quality and utility of each app to assist users in making informed decisions about which apps will best meet their needs in the midst of a wide array of choices,” wrote the authors who were led by Babar K. Rao, M.D., of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Weill Cornell Medicine.
Aisha Masud, B.A.; Shahram Shafi, M.D.; Babar K. Rao, M.D. “Mobile Medical Apps for Patient Education: A Graded Review of Available Dermatology Apps.” Cutis. 2018 Feb;101(2):141-144.
Here's a printable version of this slideshow: