The availability, functionality, and quality of mobile applications supporting medication selfmanagement

Stacy Cooper Bailey*, Lisa T. Belter, Anjali U. Pandit, Delesha M. Carpenter, Eamon Carlos, Michael S. Wolf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Objective: To systematically review mobile applications currently available to patients to support outpatient medication self-management. Methods: Three online stores were searched in March 2013 using nine distinct search terms. Applications were selected if they supported general outpatient medication self-management for adults; they were excluded if they focused on only one medication or condition, provided only a medication list or reference, only ordered refills, were written in a non-English language, or were for local pharmacy/hospital patients only. A multi-step review process was utilized by two independent reviewers to identify eligible applications. A standardized form was used to abstract data. User reviews were compiled from a subsample of applications and qualitatively coded to identify common criticisms. Results: 14 893 applications were initially identified. After the multi-step review process, 424 applications were deemed eligible for inclusion by reviewers (κ=0.85). On average, applications were rated 2.8 stars (out of 5) from 107 reviews. Almost all provided medication reminders (91.0%), half enabled patients to create a medication history or log (51.5%), and 22% could email the log to a third party. Few helped patients organize their regimen (6.2%), check for drug interactions (2.8%), or identify pills (4.0%). User reviews (N=1091) from the subsample of 26 applications revealed common criticisms, including technical malfunctions, poor compatibility with certain medications, and absence of desired features. Conclusions: Hundreds of applications exist in the marketplace to support medication self-management. However, their quality, content, and functionality are highly variable. Research is needed to determine optimal capabilities, evaluate utility, and determine clinical benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-546
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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